Farming systems researchextension at the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas in Guatemala

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Farming systems researchextension at the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas in Guatemala
DeWalt, Billie R
Hudgens, Robert Earl
Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologâia Agrâicolas (Guatemala)
Place of Publication:
Tuscon AZ
University of Arizona, Office of Arid Land Studies
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60 leaves : ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Agricultural systems -- Research -- Guatemala ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Guatemala ( lcsh )
Agriculture ( jstor )
Farmers ( jstor )
Socioeconomics ( jstor )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
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Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
"Consultant report prepared as part of Cooperative Agreement 58-319R-9-014, Identification of Results of Farming Systems Research and Extension Activities, awarded to the University of Arizona, Office of Arid Land Studies."
Statement of Responsibility:
Billie R. DeWalt, Robert Hudgens.

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Billie R. DeWalt
Professor and Chair
Department of Anthropology
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506

Robert Hudgens
Agronomist and Program Officer
Winrock International Institute for International Development
Petit Jean Mountain
Morrillton, Arkansas 72110

Consultant report prepared as part of Cooperative Agreement 58-
319R-8-014, Identification of Results of Farming Systems Research
and Extension Activities, awarded to the University of Arizona,
Office of Arid Land Studies.


Personnel from the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas (ICTA)
[Agricultural Science and Technology Institute] in Guatemala in the 1970s were
among the leaders in developing ideas, concepts, and methodologies for what
became known as farming systems research (FSR). To give just one example of
the influence of ICTA, the term sondeo, originally coined to describe the
rapid assessment procedures used by the institute in Guatemala (see Hildebrand
1979), has been incorporated into the vocabulary of farming systems
practitioners all over the world. Ideas like that of "recommendation
domains*, procedures for doing on-farm research, and the necessity of
understanding small farmers' conditions were all part of the methodology
developed at ICTA during the 1970s. In their influential text, Shaner,
Phillip and Schmehl (1982) used ICTA as one of the prime examples of an FSR
approach in developing countries. During the immense burgeoning of literature
on and use of the farming systems research approach in the 1980s, however,
there has been little indication about how the FSR approach at ICTA has fared.

We will show in this report that the farming systems research is still an
important aspect of work at the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas in
Guatemala. The institutionalization and sustainability of the approach,
however, has not been without problems. Political violence in the country,
economic crisis, changing leadership of the institute, and other factors have
meant that ICTA has gone through some very difficult periods. Through these,
the goals, ideals and philosophy of some of the founders of ICTA have managed
to persevere. Our purpose here will be to detail the major successes and
failures of ICTA, to show what kind of institution has developed from this
historical process, and to suggest what the future of ICTA and its approach
might be.


We found it impossible to understand ICTA and its approach without having
some awareness of how it arose in historical perspective. Accordingly, we
will first present a brief history of previous agricultural research efforts
in Guatemala, then turn to a discussion of how ICTA came to be created in
1973. We will discuss the several stages through which ICTA has passed before
discussing the current status of FSR in the institute. To assist the reader
in keeping track of the events and processes we describe, Appendix I is
provided as a summary.

Early Agricultural Research in Guatemala

There are two recurring themes present in the early development of
agricultural research in Guatemala. The first of these is the role played by
institutions and agencies of the United States in establishing joint efforts
on agricultural research in the country. The second has to do with the
relative autonomy of these research efforts. That is, there has been a
continuing ambivalence within the country about whether the institution that
carries out agricultural research should be under the direct control of the


central government or whether it should carry out its operations with little
interference and control by the government.

The modern history of agricultural research in Guatemala begins about
1930. Systematic agricultural research began with the Instituto Quimico
Agricola Nacional (National Institute of Agricultural Chemistry). This
organization did very effective work on characterization of soils and their
fertility. In the 1940s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began working
with the Quinine Cultivators Association. Quinine was in demand to control
malaria that was affecting allied forces during World War II. Out of this
cooperative effort, other research efforts began on maize, beans, rice, wheat,
coffee and rubber. In 1944-45, these efforts were formalized with the
founding of the Instituto Agropecuario Nacional (National Agricultural and
Livestock Institute). Three experiment stations were established to
facilitate the research. Perhaps more importantly, the IAN began the process
of training Guatemalan agricultural researchers. Between 1945 and 1950,
eighteen individuals were sent to Mexico and the United States for training
(see Ruano and Fumagalli 1988:13). These individuals were to become the
foundation for the research efforts that developed in later years.

In 1953, a government commission appointed to determine the future of
agricultural research in Guatemala recommended the creation of an autonomous
institute of agricultural research. The existing Instituto Agropecuario
National was replaced by the Servicio Cooperativo Interamericano de
Agriculture (Interamerican Cooperative Agricultural Service). The United
States provided technical cooperation and financial support. Three new
experiment stations were established and one of the three existing stations
was moved to a new location. More Guatemalan technical scientists were sent
to the United States for training, and some links began to be established with
the agronomy faculty of the University of San Carlos (see Ruano and Fumagalli

The short history of SCIDA was marked by continuing conflict over its
potentially excessive dependence on external funding and by questions about
the degree of autonomy it should be permitted. As the Guatemalan government
became more and more restive about the functioning of SCIDA, the United States
began diminishing the amount of funding going to the organization. Finally,
in 1959, the government decided to assign control of the service to the
Ministry of Agriculture. SCIDA disappeared and was replaced by what was again
called the Instituto Agropecuario Nacional.

During the 1960s, regional efforts in Latin America concerning the status
of agricultural research again raised the question in Guatemala about the kind
of institution that should be carrying out technology investigation and
dissemination. In 1964, the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) and
the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture did an analysis of
the agricultural research organizations in Central America. A variety of
commissions and study groups were then formed to try to coordinate research
efforts in the region. Among these efforts was the formation of the Programa
Cooperative Centroamericano para el Mejoramiento de Cultivos Alimenticios
(PCCMCA) (Central American Cooperative Program for the Improvement of Food
Crops], an organization that still holds an annual conference for agricultural

researchers in the region. In 1967, the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture
reorganized its research efforts and created the Direcci6n General de
Investigaci6n y Extensi6n Agricola (DGIEA) [General Direction of Agricultural
Research and Extension].

As Ruano and Fumagalli have pointed out (1988:18), SCIDA, IAN, and DGIEA
were all based on a model of agricultural research similar to that of the land
grant university system in the United States. In Guatemala, however,
university resources and support were not available. Along with the change
and instability that characterized the period, continuity in the research
efforts were impossible. In addition, although research and extension were
both incorporated within the same institution between 1954 and 1973, there was
little real communication or interaction between the two.

The Establishment of ICTA

Several of the Guatemalan scientists who had been trained under the IAN
and SCIDA programs had worked with and were influenced by the research efforts
of the Oficina de Estudios Especiales (Office of Special Studies) in Mexico.
The OEE was an organization created by the Mexican government and the
Rockefeller Foundation in 1943 to spread the success of U.S. agricultural
efforts to Mexico. The OEE was the organization that was responsible for the
"miracle" wheats that became part of the Green Revolution in world agriculture
(see Hewitt de Alcantara 1976; DeWalt 1985; 1988). It involved a
collaboration of U.S. scientists with Mexicans who were trained to eventually
take over the research efforts. The OEE split in the earl.' 1960s with its
international mandate assigned to the International Center for the Improvement
of Wheat and Maize (CIMMYT), while the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones
Agricolas (INIA) took over domestic research in Mexico.

The scientists who returned to Guatemala began working to spread the
benefits of the OEE basic research efforts in maize and wheat to their own
country. For example, during the period between 1959 and 1970, the experiment
station at Labor Ovalle in Quetzaltenango in the Guatemalan highlands
developed a program to adapt germ plasm from OEE to local conditions. The
researchers worked not only on the experiment station but also gave small
quantities of promising seed varieties to local farmers to try on their own
fields. These kinds of trials eventually came to be called parcelas de prueba
(on-farm trials). The new varieties successfully raised production among the
largely indigenous, extremely small land holders from 16 to 45 thousand tons
on an area of 35,000 hectares (Ruano and Fumagalli 1988:19). This success led
to the idea of using similar methods to spread these benefits to other
resource poor cultivators of maize, beans, and other crops.

The elections in Guatemala in 1970 brought a new government to power. One
of the initiatives of the new government was to undertake a reorganization of
the public sector because an assessment of the country's rural areas revealed
that food production was just keeping pace with growing demand, that rural
incomes and farmer productivity were stagnating, and that increasing amounts
of foreign exchange were being devoted to importing basic foods like maize and
beans. Accordingly, the new government identified agricultural research as an
important part of the effort to revitalize agriculture in the country. In

1969, a five year development plan (1971-75) had been approved that was
designed to shift public sector priorities from the agricultural export area
to greater emphasis on food crops. Public sector agricultural institutions
were to be restructured. The USAID/Guatemala project, Agricultural
Development (No. 520-11-190-197.1), was designed to assist the Ministry of
Agriculture to improve its agricultural extension capabilities and to
establish an agricultural research institute responsive to small farmer
technology problems. The same questions then arose as to the structure of the
institution that should undertake this effort, the relative degree of autonomy
it would be permitted, the financing of the institution, and the model of
research on which to base the organization.

With the change of government in 1970 one of the scientists trained in
Mexico (Ingeniero Agr6nomo Mario A. Martinez) became Vice Minister of
Agriculture and another (Ingeniero Agr6nomo Astolfo Fumagalli) became Director
General of Agricultural Research. These two contacted Bob Culbertson, the
director of the USAID mission, about their desire to create an institution to
further spread the benefits of the Green Revolution to Guatemala. Culbertson
had been in Pakistan when the new wheat varieties made such an impact there,
and he enthusiastically agreed to help Martinez and Fumagalli implement their
plan. He set up a meeting in New York with the Ford and Rockefeller
Foundations to seek financial support for the new institute. Martinez and
Fumagalli argued strongly that the new international agricultural research
centers then being established could eventually lose contact with the farmers
who were their clientele. What was needed to prevent this from happening were
strong national institutions that could adapt the basic technology created in
the international centers to farmers' needs and to local conditions.
Rockefeller expressed interest in the plan and agreed, along with
USAID/Guatemala, to finance a series of working groups that would develop work
plans, budgets, and the philosophy and methodology of a new research
institution. The third of these work groups produced what became known as the
Green Book; this contained all of the guidelines to be followed in the
creation of ICTA and was the document eventually presented to the Guatemalan
National Secretary of Economic Planning for approval.

Martinez was named Minister of Agriculture in 1971, so that the plans
became even more possible to carry out. Early in 1972, Rockefeller agreed to
support two foreign scientists to work in the institute as soon as it began
operations. In October, the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas was
established as an autonomous entity by the Congress of the Republic of
Guatemala, and ICTA began its operations in 1973.

ICTA -- Changes Through Time

Like all other institutions, ICTA has changed substantially during the
fifteen years of its existence. Our work in Guatemala revealed that there are
three stages or periods into which ICTA's history can be divided.

The first period lasted from the founding of ICTA in 1973 until 1978. In
referring to this period, ICTA personnel refer to it as an exciting time.
There were many new ideas being developed regarding agricultural research,
there was substantial stimulation from the foreign technical assistance team

that comprised part of the institute, external financial assistance meant that
salaries were good, vehicles and equipment were available, and there were
opportunities for Guatemalan scientists to obtain training in a nine month
course established at Jutiapa for new technical personnel recruited into ICTA
as well as advanced degree programs at institutions in Mexico and the United
States. Many new strategies of agricultural technology generation and
diffusion were conceptualized in a revolutionary mood full of optimism and
creative energy. It was during this period that ICTA pioneered the role of
social scientists in agricultural research. Much of the terminology and
aspects of on-farm research methodology (e.g., the "sondeo" or rapid rural
appraisal, farmer-managed trial plots, farm registers) that was incorporated
almost ten years later into what is now know as Farming Systems Research and
Extension (FSR/E) was the product of intense introspection as resources were
mobilized in a comprehensive campaign of on-farm research. Some of the people
with whom we talked referred to this period focused on the intellectual
stimulation and characterized it as an "age of enlightenment"; others, citing
the resources that were available, identified it as the "fat cow' (vacas
qordas) stage.

The second period, characterized as the "dark age" periodo oscuro) by
many in ICTA, began in 1978 with a change in government. The new military
dictator selected a series of outsiders to be the Director General of ICTA.
These individuals did not share the same philosophies and goals of the past
directors of ICTA and much of the human capacity that had been created was
gradually dissipated. In an effort to "Guatemalize" the institute, these
directors created conditions that led to the departure of all the members of
the foreign technical assistance contingent. Fever Guatemalans were sent
outside the country for training (none were sent in 1980 and 1981), and the
training program at Jutiapa was discontinued. As morale deteriorated, many of
those who had been previously trained abroad left the institute for jobs in
other agencies or in private companies. Conditions external to ICTA also
severely affected the institute. The political violence occurring in the
country made it impossible to work in some regions. The financial crisis led
to cuts in salaries and operating expenses, a situation that was further
aggravated by the eventual devaluation of the quetzal in relation to the
dollar. The dark period of ICTA lasted until 1983, when another change in
government resulted in the return of Ing. Astolfo Fumagalli to the
directorship of ICTA.

Although poor political and economic conditions in the country continued,
the return to the original goals and philosophies of the institute led to the
rebuilding of many of ICTA's programs. One functionary in the institute
refers to current efforts as a nuevo arranque (a revitalization period), an
attempt to return ICTA to its place of former glory.

In the following pages, we will discuss the concept, design,
implementation and evaluation of ICTA. Our comments will largely refer to
conditions during the "age of enlightenment" period. This material should be
thought of as a supplement to the report prepared by Kerry Byrnes concerning
the Food Productivity and Nutrition Improvement Project (520-0232). The
period covered is approximately the same, but his report covers ICTA's
involvement in a specific project. Our comments refer to the institution as a

whole. The second part of the report will be about the program impact or
output. There we will focus largely on the revitalization period, the third
stage of ICTA's history.

Concept -- What were the basic ideas underlying the Institute?

There were several important ideas that guided the early years of ICTA's
development as an institution. In brief form these can be outlined as

1) ICTA directed its programs to increasing the productivity and the welfare
of small and medium sized farmers. It was felt that there was a lack of
adequate technology available for the small farmer because most previous
agricultural research in the country had emphasized export crops. This lack
of research attention had led to declining productivity of basic food crops,
stagnant incomes for small farmers, and an increasing need for the country to
import food staples.

2) ICTA concentrated its efforts on food crops like maize, beans, wheat, rice,
and sorghum. These were the predominant crops cultivated by the farmers with
small and medium-sized landholdings, the primary clients for the research

3) ICTA took on-shelf technologies created by the international research
centers (principally CIMMYT and CIAT) to test and adapt these to local
conditions. There was substantial recognition that the technology transfer
process could not occur directly from these international centers to farmers,
especially small and medium-sized farmers. If the Green Revolution
technologies were to be spread to Guatemala, these technologies had to be
evaluated under local conditions. The USAID supported Food Productivity and
Nutrition Improvement Project (520-0232) was explicitly designed to assist
Guatemalan government institutions to accomplish these purposes. The project
purpose was to improve the capability " develop, screen and introduce new
and/or improved seed varieties, cultural practices-and crop mixes while
putting presently available improved farming techniques into practice."

4) ICTA emphasized the necessity for researchers to become aware of the
constraints and problems faced by farmers. Appropriate technology could
not be created without such awareness. ICTA's research strategy was not to be
limited to improving crop varieties but was also to address other constraints
facing farmers.

5) ICTA stressed that technologies needed to be tested on the farms for which
they were being created and that farmer evaluations of the technologies were
essential. Technology found to be successful on research stations was often
found to be inadequate when actually utilized by farmers. The key idea was
that agricultural research needed to be tested under the conditions where the
technologies would ultimately be used. Consultation with farmers at each
stage in the technology development process was essential.

6) ICTA saw that the technology of agriculture had to fit within the social,
cultural, economic, marketing and infrastructural conditions of the farmer.

Crop production occurred within a much larger cultural context and this
context had to be understood for appropriate research to occur.

Design -- How were the basic technical ideas translated into projects?

The successful launching of ICTA as a research institute was aided
substantially by a superb group of foreign agricultural scientists recruited
to provide technical assistance. The Rockefeller Foundation agreed in 1972 to
finance two scientists to work in the institute when it was created by law.
The Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) administered the funds
for these positions and was charged with responsibility for recruiting
individuals to fill the positions. USAID/Guatemala also agreed to finance two
individuals for the maize program. The Centro Internacional para el
Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) was given responsibility for recruiting
the scientists for these two positions. Other foreign scientists were
provided under the terms of other contracts and projects. Annex I provides a
listing of the 14 foreign scientists who eventually worked with ICTA.

ICTA has made excellent use of the high-quality, technical assistance and
external funding from USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation and CIAT and CIMMYT.
Much of the success was probably due to incorporating these individuals
directly into the hierarchy and norms of the organization. The ICTA charter
permitted foreigners to fill line positions. Thus, rather than having a
technical assistance team outside the organization directing the efforts of
ICTA, the relationships that were established have been based to a large
degree upon teamwork -- individuals with different sets of expertise were all
joined in a common effort toward a shared goal.

A second element in the design of the organization was the creation of
four regional centers. These were to serve the highlands, the south coast,
the southeast, and the northeast of the country. The four regions differed in
terms of their ecological conditions, the ethnic composition of the
population, and socially and agriculturally. These were the most densely
populated regions of the country and were targeted as priority areas for
research. As resources permitted, it was planned that ICTA would establish a
presence in several other regions of the country.

These regional centers had already existed as experiment stations for the
previous government agencies charged with the responsibility for research.
With the creation of ICTA, however, they were renamed production centers
(centros de producci6n). This was to reflect their status as regional
headquarters for ICTA's research activities that would reach out into the
countryside to involve farmers in the process. The establishment of these
centers meant that ICTA developed along relatively decentralized lines. A
substantial portion of the technical expertise of the institution was located
outside of Guatemala City, with only administrative personnel and those
individuals with national responsibilities located in the capital.

A third design element related to the organization of the scientists who
worked in ICTA. Initially, the scientists were organized along disciplinary
lines but after two years ICTA was reorganized around commodities. This was
to reflect the need for a team approach to solving the problems and

constraints of each particular crop. Several disciplines, however, remained
from the previous organizational structure. Most notable among these,
especially during the early years of ICTA (prior to 1978), were the Technology
Validation (TV) teams and Socioeconomics.

Each production center included at least one Technology Validation team
responsible for on station experiments as well as on-farm experimental trials.
These teams were under the administrative control of the production center
director but coordinators of each commodity research team provided thrm with
technical guidance. The commodity research teams provided technical
backstopping for the TV teams and often designed the on-farm trials to be
performed. By 1978 there were 8 TV teams attached to the various production
centers (Mann and Dougherty 1978:16).

The socioeconomics team was one of five "support disciplines' that also
included soils management, training, communications, and seed production. The
socioeconomics team was not attached to any production center but operated on
a national level. The socioeconomists were responsible for doing research on
such topics as identifying problems from the farmers' perspective, shoving how
farmers make management decisions, determining how agriculture fits within the
larger cultural context, and doing input/output analyses to determine the
feasibility of recommendations developed as a result of ICTA research. As we
will see, the Technology Validation and socioeconomics teams became some of
the more unique aspects of the organization and operation of ICTA.

The fourth design element consisted of an intensive concentration on
training for ICTA scientists. One part of this included on the job training
provided by the foreign scientists who were part of the ICTA organizational
structure. These individuals provided training by actively participating in
the on-going operations of ICTA. Eventually these foreign scientists left the
organization and their places were taken by Guatemalans.

Another aspect of the training involved sending ICTA personnel abroad for
post-graduate degrees. Between 1973 and 1979, 35 scientists were sent abroad
for training, principally to Mexico and the United States (Ruano and Fumagalli
1988: Annex 5). While some of these individuals left ICTA after fulfilling
their contractual obligations, the continuing replenishment with trained
individuals was important for the the continuity of research within the

Because ICTA was attempting a new type of organization of agricultural
research, it also established its own training center. The purpose of the
center, established at Jutiapa in 1976, was to take recent graduates from the
country's universities and to provide them with an intensive introduction into
the methods being utilized within ICTA. Approximately 10 individuals per year
were to be trained in a kind of 'boot camp*, learning research techniques as
well as absorbing the philosophy and ideology of ICTA. So that the new
"recruits' appreciated the farmers' constraints and perspectives, each student
was required to farm a plot of land using his own resources and his own ideas
concerning which crops to plant and which agricultural practices to perform.

Finally, perhaps the weakest link in the design of ICTA had to do with

its inter-institutional linkages within Guatemala. Although the founders of
ICTA had hoped that the institution's responsibilities would include both
research and the dissemination of that research, the legislation creating ICTA
left intact the extension system -- the Direcci6n General de Servicios
Agricolas (DIGESA). The result was that ICTA could develop and promote
technology, but the actual transfer of technology would be left to DIGESA (see
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala 1986:11). The other important
governmental institution with which ICTA needed to coordinate was the Banco
Nacional de Desarrollo Agricola (BANDESA) -- the source of the credit that
could be used to adopt new technologies developed as a result of research.

Almost everyone agreed that the coordination among these three agencies
was very poor during the first decade of ICTA's existence. There was little
communication between ICTA and DIGESA, so that research results were not
passed to the extension system for dissemination to farmers. DIGESA personnel
frequently relied more heavily on technologies developed by private companies
or international centers or by their own technicians rather than on the
results produced by ICTA. Credit programs from BANDESA rarely were
coordinated with DIGESA or ICTA. Similar problems of communication with other
government agencies such as the agrarian reform institute (Instituto Nacional
de Transformaci6n Agraria), the institute to promote commercialization and
stabilize prices (Instituto de Comercializaci6n Agricola), and the forestry
institute (Instituto Nacional Forestal) were also experienced.

Implementation -- How was the program executed by ICTA?

An important part of the implementation of ICTA's research strategy was
the development of many of the techniques and ideas that eventually came to be
known as Farming Systems Research and Extension. In order to understand the
FSR/E content of ICTA, it is important to recognize when their on-farm
research methodology developed relative to the time in which it occurred
elsewhere in the world. When ICTA was conceived as the single public sector
research institution in Guatemala in the early 1970s, none of the FSR/E
terminology and research concepts commonly used today were in existence. In
fact, ICTA's development of a systems perspective was evolving simultaneously
with the efforts in Nigeria and the International Rice Research Institute that
would ultimately result in the FSR/E approach. The term "farming systems
research" is not found in ICTA documents of the period, though the research
approach they were developing was quite comparable to this perspective.

The ICTA pioneering effort in adaptive on-farm research was flexibly
structured to allow research methodologies to evolve with field experience.
The concepts initially incorporated into ICTA were based more on the 1960s
Green Revolution (i.e. improved germ plasm and agronomic practices for staple
crops) strategy for agricultural development. Nevertheless, ICTA applied
conventional scientific reasoning to on-farm research to identify and
determine priorities for addressing technical production problems, to design
and test potential solutions under farmer conditions, and to disseminate the
findings to both farmers as recommendations or commodity researchers for
further investigation under controlled on-station conditions. The resulting
diagnostic, design, testing, and dissemination steps are applicable for
research on all subsystems.

During the early stages of on-farm research, ICTA experimented with
several new concepts. In translating ideas to field practice, substantial
discussion centered on terminology. Much of this terminology related to the
technology validation and the socioeconomics teams, probably the most
innovative aspects of the ICTA experience. From this exercise, terms such as
"on-farm experiments" (ensavos de finca), "field trials" (pruebas del campo),
and "trial plots" (parcelas de prueba) arose. Among the most important
aspects of ICTA's implementation of on farm research methodology are the


Perhaps the most recognizable contribution of ICTA to later FSR/E
terminology is the 'sondeo.' Sondeo refers to a method by which an
interdisciplinary team interviews farmers and later meets to discuss and to
reach a general consensus on the priority problems of the zone. This
methodology is a rapid informal appraisal that permits biological and social
scientists to exchange perspectives and work together to establish research
priorities for a given region. Obviously, the method is less precise in
quantitative terms, and therefore should be followed by a detailed formal

Farm register

A second methodological procedure that has been adopted to on-farm
research activities elsewhere is the "farm register.* Farm registers are used
to obtain detailed information on costs, inputs, prices, etc., using a sample
of 25-50 farmers per region. This information serves as the basis for economic
analyses of on-farm trials and for evaluation of changes due to adoption of
technology. The farm registers utilize simple forms on which the farmers make
daily records for each crop and record labor (family or hired) inputs. This
data is supplemented by later observations on planting distances, population
densities, and other traditional agronomic practices. Farm registers insure
repeated contact between researcher and farmers, help monitor changes in
farmer practices and are useful for the exchange of ideas.

Trial plots (farmer managed)

On-farm research managed experiments use the existing farmer practice as a
check plot (i.e., experimental control). At first, ICTA also supplied all
agrochemical inputs and seed for the farmer managed "trial plots*. ICTA
eventually came to the conclusion that farmers should purchase all necessary
inputs, including those supplied by ICTA. Farmers who had made an investment
of their own were likely to take better care of research plots and to give a
franker and realistic appraisal of the results of the trials.

Trial plots represent the first stage of the technology transfer process
because management decisions are made by the farmers themselves. Trial plots
usually emphasize single component technologies, rather than carefully
designed technology packages, which would require credit to pay for all inputs
simultaneously. ICTA researchers note crop yields and farmer opinion after the

season. Rainfall data is collected to estimate risk factor. Follow-up studies
are then conducted to see to what extent the farmers use the new technologies
in subsequent seasons.

Index of acceptability

The 'index of acceptability" was derived from these evaluations as a means
for quantifying the adoption potential of a new technology. The index
represents the percentage of collaborators continuing to use a recommended
technology one year after their participation in test plots, multiplied by the
percentage of the farmers' land on which the technology is applied. These two
factors are sometimes found to vary widely. For example, in the case of the
high yielding, disease resistant 'Tollocan Solala" potato variety, it was
found that 75% of the farmers used the new variety in subsequent years, but
only on 10% of the potato acreage, because of low market price and experiences
with frost damage.

Technologies with a low index of acceptability are recycled into on-farm
experiments after the cause for the lack of acceptability has been determined.
Technologies with an index of acceptability greater than 50% are passed to
DIGESA for dissemination. Unfortunately, ICTA has only been successful in
measuring the level of acceptability of its technology, rather than the actual
rates of adoption, which are also vary with such factors as the heterogeneity
of the agricultural community. The speed of the transfer of technology and the
actual direct impact of ICTA technology on microregional production await
further socioeconomic evaluation.

Evaluation -- How do we assess the performance of ICTA?

ICTA has been successful in developing an institutional philosophy and
on-farm research methodology, which has proven applicable to a wide range of
crops. ICTA was among the first national research institutions to define the
role of social scientists in agricultural research, and ICTA originated many
evaluation techniques by which to measure technology from the farmers'
standpoint. Technology validation at the community level aided diffusion and
involved the farmer directly in the research process. Agricultural research,
which is typically 'commodity driven' in Latin America, became "farmer driven"
through the work of technology validation teams and socioeconomists. ICTA's
positive contribution to agricultural sector growth is widely recognized, but
how can this success be quantified?

Parameters for measuring impact

Because the ICTA mandate for basic grain research was very specific, it
is difficult to quantify the effect of ICTA on subsistence food production or
improvements in family income. Production statistics are based on marketed
products, and incomes in the ICTA target group of small and medium sized farms
seldom derive solely from food crops. Other parameters, such as the number of
improved varieties released (e.g., 23 improved maize varieties and 14 wheat
varieties), are biased toward genetic improvement research and may be
misleading without accompanying information on the adoption of new varieties
by farmers. Whereas the socioeconomic support discipline of ICTA conducted

numerous studies of the acceptability of new technologies, long-term adoption
studies were not undertaken, or at best, have not been documented adequately.

Short-term successes

In order to establish credibility, it is apparent that ICTA showed a
preference for high impact and high adoption potential interventions, such as
improved varieties and the accompanying increase in use of inorganic
fertilizers. This can not be criticized in light of the ICTA basic grains
mandate and the importance of both maize and beans in the nutrition of
resource poor farmers in Guatemala. Many national research programs have given
priority to "big ticket items* (i.e., areas of technological intervention such
as varietal improvement, which require few changes in the traditional farm
management and have high potential payoff in terms of yield increments).

In fact, the IARCs have been actively promoting crop "tech-pacs" (i.e.,
technological packages of improved varieties and a complementary set of
agrochemicals and management practices) in the Green Revolution mode
throughout Latin America since the early 1970s. IARC short-term technical
assistance in germ plasm improvement, in-service training, and networking have
been instrumental in the widespread acceptance of this approach to research.
In this sense, the tremendous germ plasm resources of the IARC's can be viewed
as 'shelf technology" awaiting immediate adaptation by national agricultural
research programs. ICTA has made substantial use of these on-shelf

Institutional realignment

Unfortunately, the on-shelf technologies promoted by ICTA were more
appropriate for microclimates conducive to monoculture maize production and
for producers more capable of purchasing inputs, obtaining credit, and
marketing production surpluses. In short, production increases were skewed
toward large scale commercial producers in production environments unlike
those of resource poor farmers. However, it should be stressed that once this
trend was recognized, ICTA undertook a realignment of institutional activities
in accordance with its original aspirations to develop and validate technical
innovations acceptable to small scale producers.

The fact that ICTA has been slow to deviate from its mission to improve
basic grain production has led to criticism that it has not adequately
addressed research needs from a farming systems standpoint. In this respect,
the projects, Guatemala Highlands Agricultural Development (520-0274, T-037)
and Small Farmer Diversification Systems (520-0255), recently funded by USAID
have been a positive influence in putting pressure on ICTA to diversify its
research efforts to cash crops. However, severe budget reductions, personnel
turnover, and the currency devaluation have prevented ICTA from taking a more
active role in the diversification efforts. There is some evidence that ICTA
is attempting to widen its horizons to include horticultural crops,
non-traditional enterprises, and animal production, but staff and budgetary
limitations continue to constrain interdisciplinary cooperation and the
development of the FSR/E capacity of the institution. At present, we believe
that not enough attention is being given within ICTA to upgrading the

Technology Validation teams to allow multidisciplinary research on all farm

Yield increases

Although crop acreage has increased during the 15-year ICTA life span,
crop yield increases (Table 1-1) indicate a successful generation and transfer
of production technologies. Maize yields increased 35% from 1974-1985, while
rice yields increased 52X during the same period. However, much of this
increase undoubtedly came from large and medium sized farms in geographical
areas of high productivity and may reflect favorable climatic conditions.
Nevertheless, increases in target crop yields are one of the few parameters
which permit certain generalizations regarding research effectiveness,
particularly the research/extension linkage and the feedback of information
from on-farm to on-station research.

Table 1-1. Yields of basic grain crops (1974-1986)

Years Maize Rice Beans Wheat Sorghum
( ... metric tons/ha . . .)

1974 1.14 1.54 0.67 1.13 0.80
1975 1.27 1.71 0.63 1.13 1.61
1976 1.05 0.91 0.28 1.24 1.50
1977 1.12 1.57 0.25 1.30 1.44
1978 1.40 2.20 0.81 1.47 1.45
1979 1.64 1.28 0.93 1.76 1.66
1980 1.31 2.09 0.86 1.40 2.16
1981 1.40 2.10 1.08 1.28 2.03
1982 1.58 2.77 0.96 1.74 2.41
1983 1.31 3.83 0.62 2.08
1984 1.37 2.81
1985 1.43 2.82

Source: Facultad de Agronomia, Universidad de San Carlos de
Guatemala, INAP, and IICA, 1986.

Development of an Effective Domestic Seed Industry

There is convincing evidence that a major effect of ICTA has been in the
development of a domestic seed industry. In 1977 the institute began a major
effort to remove restrictions on the production and sales of improved seeds in
the country. ICTA encouraged private industry to become involved in the
production of these improved seeds using as a foundation the basic germ plasm
being produced by the institute. Table 1-2 shows the marked progress that has
been made since 1974 in the availability of improved seed for basic grains in

the country, the gradual replacement of imports by domestically produced seed,
and the declining role of ICTA seed relative to that produced by private
companies. Maize and rice seed produced initially by ICTA and then by private

companies using ICTA materials have
seed is still imported.

been especially successful. Most sorghum

metric tons) -- 1974-1985.





National Production
ICTA % Others %


1974 497 65 28 7
1977 1954 54 30 16
1980 2679 42 9 49
1983 2955 27 3 70
1985 2400 15 1 85

Source: ICTA Seed Program


This section of the report has focused on the precursors of ICTA, the
founding of the institution, some of the external and internal factors that
affected its functioning, and its early success in implementing a farming
systems research and extension methodology. In the following sections, we
will be concerned with documenting how effectively this approach has been
institutionalized within Guatemala and whether it is likely to be sustainable
in the future.



ICTA, like the country of Guatemala, went through some very trying times
between 1978 and 1985. The political violence in the country, economic
crisis, the devaluation of the quetzal, and other factors would have made it
difficult for any institution to make much progress during those years. In
addition, ICTA had three directors during that period who were outsiders to
the institution and who were relatively unsympathetic to the goals of the
organization. With the reappointment of Astolfo Fumagalli in 1983, ICTA began
to become revitalized. As we will show in the following section of the
report, one of the impressive things about ICTA is that, even during the dark
period, enough of the philosophy and ideology of the original founders
remained intact so that there was a possibility of restructuring the

In 1985, a new director of ICTA was appointed but this change was
symbolic of the changes that have occurred in the organization. This
individual was one of the original people trained during the 1970s. His
professional formation then occurred within ICTA and he rose from the ranxs of
the scientists to become the director general. Under his guidance, a Plan of
Agricultural and Livestock Research for the period 1988-92 has been prepared
to carry ICTA through the end of its second decade in existence. Before
commenting on the future plans, however, we will discuss the current status of


In considering the acceptance of farming systems research and extension
in countries around the world, it is usually the case that FSR/E has been
added on to an existing research and extension system. Thus, in many cases it
is unclear whether the approach will survive once AID and other externally
financed projects disappear. In the case of Guatemala, ICTA was established
on the basis of a research methodology that included many of the precursors of
what ultimately came to be known as FSR/E.

Despite the turmoil that has affected the country and the institution, it
is impressive that there has been substantial continuity in the goals of ICTA.
The key guiding principles established when the organization was established
were a) to do research on technology to benefit the country's farmers with
small and medium sized landholding; b) to work first with basic grains in the
most densely populated and resource poor regions of the country; and c) to try
to involve the farmer as an active participant in the generation, validation,
and transfer of technology. ICTA has not wavered in its commitment to the on-
farm research that these goals imply. This approach has been
institutionalized for the 15 year history of ICTA and is likely to remain so
in the future.

Because ICTA's establishment preceded the establishment and definition
of the Farming Systems Research and Extension methodology, we were not
concerned with measuring how closely ICTA's procedures follow that

methodology. ICTA's approach is an example of what herrill-Sands (1988) has
defined as "on-farm client-oriented research*:

... a research strategy designed to help research meet the needs of
specific clients, most commonly resource-poor farmers. It
complements and is dependent upon experiment station research. It
involves a client-oriented philosophy, a specific research approach
and methods, and series of operational activities carried out at the
farm level. These activities range from diagnosis and ranking of
problems through the design, development, adaptation, and evaluation
of appropriate technological solutions. Farmers are directly
involved at various stages in the process.

There are several ways in which the institutionalization of the FSR/E
perspective can be documented. One is by considering the basic research
methodology of ICTA. It contains several important features that are similar
to FSR/E projects elsewhere:

o An interdisciplinary collaboration between social and biological
scientists in defining problem priorities, zonal characterization, and
technology evaluation.

o The importance of agrosocioeconomic information to characterize major
farming systems and client groups before field experiments are initiated.

o Direct farmer participation in technology screening.

o Feedback of information on the farmer's situation and evaluation of
new technology to research planning and programming.

o Close collaboration with extension personnel in the dissemination of
agricultural technologies throughout local farming communities.

A flow diagram illustrating this process is the introduction presented in the
promotional brochure that ICTA uses to explain its operations to the general
public and to other scientists. This illustrates the central place that the
on-farm client-oriented research (OFCOR) plays within the organization.

A second indication of the institutionalization of FSR/E within ICTA
relates to the amount of research that is done on farmers' fields. In 1987,
ICTA reported that 2,395 trials were conducted in such situations, about 70%
of the total done by the institute (ICTA 1987:19).

Third, the disciplines that conduct the on-farm trials receive a
substantial portion of the ICTA budget. Table 2-1 presents information on the
percentage of the 1986 budget received by the major programs in the technical
unit (Unidad Tecnica) of the organization. [The technical unit of the
organization receives about 89% of the total budget of ICTA. The
administrative unit receives about 7.5% and the programming unit receives
about 4%.] As is shown below, Technology Validation and Socioeconomics, the
two main components of OFCOR, received about 30% of the total budget. The
Technology Validation component was by far the largest program within ICTA.

Ruano and Fumagalli note, however, that the proportion of ICTA's budget going
to OFCOR activities has declined from about 38% in 1981 to only 21% in 1986
(1988:36). In large part, this is because during the past few years ICTA has
substantially increased the amount of funding for two large commodity programs
-- one in vegetable production and the other focussing on livestock.


Program or Discipline 000 quetzales %

Technology Validation 1297.8 26.7
Other Disciplines and Programs 1196.6 24.6
Vegetables 460.3 9.5
Animal Production 396.8 8.1
Maize 307.5 6.3
Fruits 230.1 4.7
Wheat 208.7 4.3
Beans 201.1 4.1
Rice 167.6 3.4
Socioeconomic 157.2 3.2
Sorghum 135.7 2.7
Oilseeds 107.4 2.1

TOTAL 4866.8 100.0

Source: Programming Unit, ICTA -- cited in Ruano and Fumagalli 1988:35

Finally, there has been a further strengthening of the
institutionalization of the FSR/E perspective through a project begun in 1986
that is being funded by the Interamerican Development Bank and the
International Fund for Agricultural Development. This new effort is the
Project to Generate and Transfer Agricultural and Livestock Technology and for
Seed Production (PROGETTAPS is the acronym in Spanish). ICTA, DIGESA (the
agricultural extension service) and DIGESEPE (the livestock extension service)
are all involved in PROGETTAPS.

The emphasis of this new project is on technology transfer but the model
by which this is to be accomplished is very similar to the OFCOR methodology
already used by ICTA. A former technical director of ICTA, who received Ph.D.
training in farming systems research at the University of Florida, is serving
as one of the primary consultants for PROGETTAPS within DIGESA. He has
written several documents outlining how farming systems research methods can
be used in the technology transfer process (see Ortiz 1988; n.d.).

The methods being emphasized in PROGETTAPS are the following:

1) It is thought that the technologies being transferred are relatively
simple, are profitable and will have high indices of acceptability. Thus,
there is a greater stress on the promotion of technology with less emphasis

being accorded technical assistance.

2) There is joint participation among the researchers of ICTA with the
technicians from DIGESEPE and DIGESA in the generation, validation, and
transfer of the new technologies.

3) Rural leaders, recruited from the community, are trained to handle the new
technologies. These leaders have technology validation trials on their own
plots and these serve as demonstration plots for groups of farmers they
organize to receive the new technologies.

4) A Modular System is being used in which researchers and extension workers
are linked with 10 rural leaders, each of whom is responsible for 20 to 40
agriculturalists. The idea is to use a multiplier effect to reach as wide a
group of farmers as possible.

5) There is active participation of agriculturalists throughout the process of
technological innovation.

Nearly everyone we interviewed reported that PROGETTAPS had substantially
improved the coordination among the three agencies. Our field visit to
Quetzaltenango confirmed that there was very effective coordination aha
communication among the researchers and extension workers. These individuals
made common plans for validating technological alternatives, shared vehicles
and equipment, and worked as a team with rural leaders from the communities.
The rural leaders with whom we met were very positive about their role, talked
knowledgeably about the technologies being transferred, and said that farmers
in the community were actively adopting these technologies. Many of the
farmers were participating in the on-farm trials of new technologies.

Thus, our conclusion is that the farming systems perspective has become
institutionalized within ICTA and is now being actively spread to the two
extension services in Guatemala. Communication problems that had existed in
the past are now being addressed. The activities of each of the six
institutions that are part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (including
the agricultural development bank and the marketing institute) are coordinated
at the regional level by the COREDAS (Comites Regionales de Desarrollo
Agricola) and at the sub-regional level by the COSUREDAS (Comites
Subregionales de Desarrollo Agricola). The COREDAS and COSUREDAS, which are
staffed by the regional and subregional directors of each of the six
organizations, do joint planning and monitoring of on-going activities in the
agricultural sector.

The lack of communication among ICTA, DIGESA and DIGESEPE that had caused
problems in earlier times is being directly addressed by kPROETTAPS and the
project's approach seems to be working. In the regions we visited, teams made
up of individuals from all three agencies were working well together.

National Program Financial Support

Another aspect of the institutionalization of any approach is whether the
national government will commit sufficient financial resources to continue a

project or program. Guatemala has been beset by financial difficulties during
the past decade or so, and these financial problems have definitely affected
ICTA staff and operations. These problems have not meant that ICTA has
retreated from its commitment to farming systems research as we will show in
this section.

Table 2-2 below indicates the amount of the budget that Guatemala has
committed to agricultural research compared with other countries in Central
America and the Caribbean. Guatemala spends a comparatively small amount,
compared to the contribution that agriculture makes to its economy, on
agricultural research. In terms of the amount of dollars per investigator,
however, Guatemala ranks first among all of the countries. This indicates
that the amount of support, in terms of salaries and money for support
services, is comparatively better in Guatemala.


(average for 1980-85)* PRODUCT *

Panama 2709 1.17 19.0

Costa Rica 1236 0.26 15.0

Nicaragua 1587 0.42 17.8

Honduras 1469 0.15 9.6

El Salvador 1688 0.21 19.8

Dominican Republic 1680 0.19 16.5

Guatemala 3767 0.22 21.6

Figures expressed in constant dollars relative to 1975

Source: From data in the ISNAR/IFARD investigation of national systems of
agricultural and livestock research, 1985.

Table 2-3 gives some indication of the financial problems that beset ICTA
in the early 1980s. As is indicated there, financial support from the central
government fell substantially between 1962 and 1985. During this period the
value of the quetzal in relation to the dollar also fell by more than 50%..
The consequences of the falling budget included a stagnation in salary levels,
inability to replace aging equipment, a lack ol many basic supplies, and a
declining morale among the personnel in the organization. Many of the

individuals who had come back to ICTA with advanced degrees left the
institution during this period to work in private industry.

In 1973-1975, the first three years of operation of ICTA, 80% of the
budget came from the Guatemalan government; AID and the Rockefeller Foundation
each contributed 10%. Table 2-3 indicates that this proportion has been
maintained over the years; revenues from the central government made up well
over 75% of the total budget until 1986. Money provided from PROGETTAPS
substantially increased the percentage of the budget coming from loans in
1986. That year was the first time in the history of ICTA that the national
government did not provide at least 75% of the budget. The previous low of
74% of the budget was in 1974 when a large amount of loans from USAID were
used to help in establishing the institute (Facultad de Agronomia 1986: 46).
The loans from PROGETTAPS were quite important in allowing ICTA to replace
vehicles and to undertake some construction. Nevertheless, taking into
account the devaluation of 1983 and the subsequent inflation, the 1986 budget
did not have the purchasing power of the budget of 1983. It is important to
note that ICTA has been one of the institutions of the State that has had
privileged treatment, perhaps in recognition of its services, since its budget
reductions have been less than others in the Agricultural Public Sector and of
other government sectors (Ruano and Fumagalli 1988:37).

(thousands of quetzales)

Year Central X Loans % Donations % Other .% Total
Government Sources*

1981 4,343.9 85.6 45.5 0.9 683.1 13.5 5,072.5

1982 4,466.0 85.5 49.0 0.9 705.0 13.5 5,220.0

1983 4,214.9 84.7 538.8 10.8 52.5 1.1 167.7 3.4 4,973.9

1984 3,876.4 81.2 311.2 6.5 88.1 1.8 502.7 10.5 4,778.4

1985 3,220.0 76.1 289.5 6.8 108.7 2.6 613.6 14.5 4,231.8

1986 4,273.6 60.0 220.8 31.0 174.0 2.4 470.0 6.6 7,125.6

* principally sales of products from field trials, germ plasm, etc.

What is impressive with regard to the ICTA budget is that, with the
exception of 1985, the institution has always been able to maintain a decent
balance between salaries and operating expenses. [The budget problems in 1985
were created by a 25% budget cut imposed on the agency.] In many other
countries, the vast majority of the budget goes to pay salaries leaving
nothing for operating expenses. In contrast, ICTA has generally been able to

maintain more than 25% of the budget to use for operating expenses (see Ruano
and Fumagalli 1988:35).

Another difference between the budget of ICTA and that of research
organizations in many other countries is that the percentage of the budget
being consumed by the central administration is actually falling. As is shown
in Table 2-4, the percentage of the budget allocated to the central offices of
ICTA in Guatemala City has fallen substantially since the founding of the
institute. From 76% in 1974, it has fallen to just below 35%, with more
resources flowing to the regional centers. Although ICTA now has operations
in 7 of the 8 zones in the country, it still concentrates the majority of its
efforts in four of these zones. With the restrictive budgets of the last
several years, the institution has decided to concentrate its efforts in those
regions where it can make a difference rather than trying to maintain
operations in all areas. [Nothing has yet been established in Region III,
thus it does not appear in Table 2-4.1

Table 2-4. Percentage Distribution of the ICTA Budget.

Year Central I II IV V VI VII VIII

1974 76.0 6.6 1.1 5.6 1.7 6.6 2.4 --

1978 43.2 10.1 0.7 15.5 10.8 12.5 7.2 --

1982 36.7 11.9 -- 11.8 14.8 10.7 10.7 3.4

1985 34.9 20.3 -- 12.6 12.2 9.2 7.5 3.3

As we have already mentioned, FSR/E remains a significant component of
the budget of ICTA, though it is declining as more commodity programs are
established. The 1988-92 plan for the organization aims to strengthen the
socioeconomics component. It also plans to establish more technology
validation teams beyond the 14 already in existence. Several of these
technology validation teams would operate in areas of the country not now
covered by substantial ICTA research programs. Some of the 5% annual budget
increase being requested from the central government is earmarked for these
two areas (ICTA 1988a).

Thus, we conclude that in terms of national financing, ICTA and its FSR/E
programs are on relatively good footing. The country does not allocate a
substantial portion of its budget to agricultural research. What it does
allocate, however, seems to us to be spent well. The money does not all go
just to pay the salaries of a bloated bureaucracy, but at least a quarter of
it is generally dedicated to operating expenses. A substantial portion is
spent in the regions in which the actual research is done, and, even though

this has declined somewhat in recent years, a fifth of ICTA's budget supports
the technology validation and socioeconomics programs.


When ICTA was established with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation and
USAID, one of the primary goals was to train professional research staff for
the institute. With the exception of several years during ICTA's "dark
period", training has been a significant area of emphasis. There are two
components of this training that we will discuss in this report -- post-
graduate training abroad and ICTA's own Training Course in Agricultural
Production (CAPA -- Curso de Adiestramiento en Produccion Agricola).

Table 2-5. ICTA post-oraduate degrees: 1973-1987

# People
Year sent abroad

1973 4
1974 2
1975 1
1976 5
1977 10
1978 6
1979 7
1980 0
1981 0
1982 3
1983 2
1984 2
1985 6
.1986 6
1987 6

Training abroad began as soon as ICTA was established. The founders of
the institute, USAID, and Rockefeller all recognized the necessity of securing
training for Guatemalans so that an effective research and extension
organization could be established. In part, this training was undertaken so
that those foreigners funded with grant and loan funds would be eventually
replaced by Guatemalans. In 1973, four individuals were sent abroad for
training. Table 2-5 shows the history of post-graduate training since that
time. The number of individuals sent abroad increased to a high of 10 in 1977
before the political changes within ICTA began to take effect. The three
directors between 1978 and 1983 all adopted a policy that did not support
training outside the country. In 1980 and 1981 not one individual received
post-graduate training. The economic situation since then has not been
conducive to the training of large numbers of individuals. Only with the
advent of the Highlands Agricultural Development Project, the Small Farmer

Diversification Project, and the PROGETTAPS project has significant amounts of
money become available for training. Between 1985 and 1987, six individuals
per year were selected to pursue post-graduate degrees abroad.

There is currently a commission on grants within the institute that has
the responsibility of planning what training needs to be done and for
selecting the individuals to be sent abroad. This commission takes into
account the needs expressed by program and discipline coordinators, the
experience and abilities of the individuals who apply for training, and the
goals and needs of ICTA.

Table 2-6 shows the disciplines in which individuals have received post-
graduate degrees. What is indicated there is that there has been an attempt
to spread training into the different programs and disciplines. ICTA
administrators note that there has been substantial difficulty in identifying
programs in which the technicians in Technology Validation area can receive


Specialty Number Percentage of Total

Plant Breeding 13 24
Agronomy 10 19
Entomology 4 7
Administration 4 7
Plant Pathology 4 7
Soils 4 7
Plant Physiology 3 6
Livestock Production 3 6
Agricultural.Economics 2 4
Irrigation 1 2
Horticulture 1 2
Seed Production 1 2
Communications 1 2
Anthropology 1 2
Rural Sociology 1 2
International Agriculture 1 2


Source: Ruano and Fumagalli 1988:Annex 4.

appropriate training. Several individuals were sent to CATIE for training in
cropping systems or farming systems but they expressed dissatisfaction
concerning the kind of training they received there. Several technicians
already working in Technology Validation expressed the belief that, if they
were to be selected to go abroad for training, they would have to do so
through one of the commodity programs. Even though they were very positive

about the activities in which they were engaged in Technology Validation, they
felt that their ability to rise in the hierarchy of ICTA would depend on their
switching to one of the other programs or disciplines.

Another problem that is illustrated by the information in Table 2-6 is
that only two individuals have been trained in socioeconomics and both of
these individuals received their training in the period between 1973 and 1979.
Both have subsequently left the institute. The problem is that ICTA has had a
difficult time identifying anthropologists or rural sociologists to work in
the organization. One problem was that, during the political violence in the
country between 1978 and 1983, the social science programs at the university
were decimated; many faculty members were killed or had to go into exile
outside the country. Students did not choose these careers because the
government considered the training they were receiving as being influenced by
communism and therefore was subversive. Now that universities are hiring new
faculty to staff these disciplines, many of the graduates of the programs are
being hired immediately as professors. Add to this the fact that most social
science graduates do not see the interface between their disciplines and
agriculture and it is not difficult to understand that ICTA has found it
impossible to staff these positions. The institute has a commitment to
improve its capabilities in this area but needs to think of innovative ways to
recruit individuals for the positions. One way that it might do so is to
identify promising individuals working in Technology Validation who have the
ability to relate well to people in the communities. These technicians could
then be sent to Mexico, the US, or another country to receive formal training
in the social sciences.

Like other countries that have invested heavily in training individuals
to work in agricultural research and extension, ICTA has lost a fairly large
number of them who go to work in international organizations or in the private
sector. Table 2-7 shows the number of individuals completing degrees in each
program and the number who are still employed in ICTA. What is indicated
there is that 53% of the individuals receiving Master's or Ph.D. training have
already left ICTA. Although we were not able to determine when these
individuals left the organization, we were told that there was a very high
rate of loss during the "dark period" between 1978 and 1983, the years in
which morale in the agency was at a low ebb. The relatively low salaries,
lack of equipment, and other problems caused by inadequate budgets still
affect ICTA so that loss of trained personnel continues.

Administrators in ICTA, however, were all very insistent that the loss of
these individuals should not be seen as completely negative. They reported
that many of these individuals were working in positions within Guatemala in
which they were applying many of the lessons and philosophies they had learned
while in ICTA. Our conversations with some of those who had left ICTA
confirmed this. Some were working in high positions in the government, in
universities, or in other institutions within the Ministry of Agriculture and
Food. All of them talked very positively about ICTA and many of them talked
about the necessity for on-farm research, the need to do research that would
benefit small and medium size landowners, and the need to have farmers
participating in the research and extension process. These individuals still
showed substantial loyalty toward ICTA.

Although there are still complaints about the economic situation of ICTA,
morale within the institute is quite high. We were extremely impressed with
how widely the philosophy and goals stated by ICTA were shared among the
personnel. There was real pride concerning the capabilities and the
accomplishments of the institute. Without this high degree of esprit de
corps we are sure that the number of people leaving ICTA would be much


Program or Degrees Still Employed Currently
Discipline Completed in ICTA in Graduate

Maize 6 2
Beans 10 6* 1**
Sorghum 5 2
Wheat 2 1
Vegetables 1 2
Oil seeds 1 1
Fruits 1
Validation 9 3 4
Soils 1 2 2
Seed Production 1 1
Socioeconomic 5 1
Animal Production 1 0 1
Planning and
Administration 3 5 1
Others 4 2

TOTALS 49 26 12

* One of these individuals has a Ph.D.
** This individual is studying for a Ph.D.
Source: Personnel Office of ICTA.

One reason for this high level of commitment to the organization, we
believe, comes from ICTA's own training program for new technical personnel.
The CAPA program was established at Jutiapa in 1976. The purpose of the
program was to take recently-graduated individuals from the universities and
to give them training that would enable them to function as effective
researchers. The theoretical knowledge that these individuals learned in the
university is immediately put into practice. CAPA functions as a sort of
"boot camp" that not only provides minimal knowledge of research methods but

also the ten months of training provides an effective means for providing new
technical personnel with a form of "indoctrination' into the goals, philosophy
and ideology of the organization. Trainees learn the technological system of
ICTA, its administration and handling, the context in which the institute
operates, methods and techniques of communication, data analysis, experimental
designs, and all of the aspects of conducting on-farm experiments. It also
teaches them how to write reports, how to communicate in public, and how to do
farm registers.

The decision was made to establish the training headquarters at Jutiapa
because it is one of the most difficult areas of the country for agriculture.
There is a six month dry season and even during the *wet" season, rains there
are quite erratic. Many farmers spread their risks by intercropping maize and
sorghum, sometimes including beans in the multiple cropping system. One
unique aspect of the CAPA course is that each trainee is required to use his
own resources to farm some land in the region. The trainees are put in the
farmer's shoes and quickly learn the difficulties faced by agriculturalists
since most lose money on their "small farm'.

In recent years, 10 trainees a year are selected to attend CAPA courses.
ICTA is a very desirable institution in which to work -- in 1986, 73 recent
university graduates applied for the 10 positions. As is shown in Table 2-8,
during the nine years in which CAPA has functioned, almost 100 individuals
have graduated from the course and gone to work for ICTA. Of these, about
two-thirds are still with the institute.


# OF COURSES Participants Graduates Contracted Still in
beginning course by ICTA ICTA

1976-86 9 109 97 95 67

Source: Ruano and Fumagalli 1988: 47.

Over the years there have been several attempts to involve individuals
from other parts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in the CAPA training
program. In 1988, largely because of the collaboration going on within the
PROGETTAPS program, 4 individuals from DIGESA were selected to attend CAPA
along with 5 individuals contracted by ICTA. These individuals are divided
into three teams of 3 persons and are working on research projects in three
different communities near Jutiapa. They are already learning to collaborate
with one another, a lesson that should carry over once these technicians
become permanent employees of their institutes.

Because of the strong linkages between ICTA and international centers and
universities (see Networking), there are also many opportunities for personnel

to attend short courses on a variety of different topics. Ruano and Fumagalli
have estimated that ICTA itself has trained about 170 people in short courses
of its own and that another 322 individuals have attended short courses in the
international agricultural research centers, FAO, U.S., and other foreign
universities (1988:47).

We found that ICTA was an organization with a substantial degree of
professionalism. This comes from the generally high level of educated
individuals staffing the institute. Although there is much room for
improvement, ICTA, with the exception of the 1978-83 period, has continued to
improve in terms of employing better-trained personnel. This can be seen in
Table 2-9.


1973 1975 1980 1986
Level of Study

Postgraduate 9 20 16 25

University 34 68 143 152

Technical University -- 2 9

Middle Level 76 191 148 150

Primary Level 36 85 73 64

TOTAL 155 364 382 400

Source: Planning Division, ICTA

In conclusion, we found that ICTA has continued to place a high priority
on improving the capabilities of its human resources. Substantial investment
goes into training, especially to inculcate new technicians with the
importance of the FSR/E perspective. Although personnel turnover has been
high, the personal commitment people have made to ICTA means that they have
retained more people in times of trouble than sister organizations in
neighboring countries.


ICTA was established in an international context because some of its
initial funding came from USAID and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition,
some of the Rockefeller money was channeled through CIAT and CIMMYT so that
ICTA was immediately plugged into the network of international agricultural
research centers. The success of the institute in developing what eventually
came to be known as an FSR/E approach also brought it substantial
international recognition. Although many of its linkages were cut during the

"dark period' of 1978-1983, ICTA has re-developed a substantial network at the
international level.

The institute maintains permanent linkages with CIMMYT, CIAT, and CATIE,
all of which maintain small offices in the same office building with ICTA.
Permanent lines of communication and joint projects also are carried out with
the International Potato Center (CIP), with the International Crops Research
Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Institute for
Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), and with several U.S. universities,
including Cornell (through the Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support
Program), North Carolina, Texas A & M, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Florida
(ICTA 1987:31).

ICTA has received assistance from the development assistance agencies of
Canada, China, Switzerland and the United States. The PROGETTAPS program is
being carried out with financing from BID and FIDA. In recent years, ICTA has
begun working with USAID programs in the country. These have not always gone
smoothly because USAID has been promoting diversification into fruits and
vegetables for small farmers. This focus has run counter to some of the
premises on which ICTA was founded (i.e. to work with food grains) but the
institute has been training personnel to work in fruit and vegetable
production and is expanding its capabilities in this area.

At the local level, the primary linkages are with the Nutrition Institute
for Central America and Panama (INCAP) and the Universities of San Carlos, del
Valle and Rafael Landivar. The latter provide university training for most of
the technicians hired by ICTA. ICTA Las an exchange program with the
University of San Carlos that allows professors to become more involved in
research using ICTA's laboratories and fields, and allowing ICTA researchers
to get practical experience in teaching. ICTA researchers also teach part
time at the other universities as a means of earning a supplement to their

ICTA also has close ties to several private companies in the country.
Cerveceria Centroamericana (a beer producer) and Quaker Oats support the wheat
program to do research and extension on barley and oats, respectively.
Gremial Nacional de Trigueros (the National Wheat Producers Association)
provides ICTA with Q0.10 for every 100 pounds of wheat produced to strengthen
the work at the Labor Ovalle (Quetzaltenango) research station.

In terms of networks for FSR/E, Guatemala has maintained strong linkages
with the University of Florida and its Farming Systems Support Program (FSSP).
The former head of the socioeconomics program (Peter Hildebrand) went to
Florida after leaving ICTA and became a key figure in the FSSP. He maintains
strong ties to ICTA and some students from Guatemala go to Florida for
graduate training with him. Other strong FSR/E ties are to CATIE because some
of ICTA's key personnel (including its current director) were trained there.

ICTA is a leader in Latin America in terms of promoting the FSR/E (even
though it may not be labelled as such) approach to agricultural research and
extension. Especially since 1985, the Director General, Subdirector, other
administrators, people formerly associated with the institute and many of the

technical staff have been participating in national, regional, and
international meetings in which they present papers detailing ICTA's approach.
It was our impression that this renewed contact with other programs would not
only be very beneficial in terms of promoting the FSR/E approach but also in
terms of exposing ICTA to more current ideas and approaches within this

Program Content

As we have mentioned earlier, the research strategy that ICTA began
developing in 1973 included the development of many of the techniques and
ideas that eventually came to be known as Farming Systems Research and
Extension. When ICTA was conceived as the single public sector research
institution in Guatemala in the early 1970s, none of the FSR/E terminology and
research concepts commonly used today were in existence. It is probably
unfortunate that the "dark period" of the institute occurred during the period
when farming systems research and extension blossomed as an approach on a
global level, because at that time ICTA was isolated from further developments
and refinements of that methodology. It is only since 1985 that ICTA is
beginning to regain momentum in adapting FSR/E to its own institutional

As we noted earlier, ICTA was established as a participatory on-farm
research scheme aimed specifically at developing improved production
technologies for the basic grains (i.e. maize, beans, wheat, and rice) and
validating the relevance of these technologies in the production environment
of target group farmers. In a society in which maize is the starch staple food
crop and beans provide the majority of the protein in the diets of lower
income groups, this relatively narrow mandate was understandable, especially
during an initial period of institutional organization. The emphasis on basic
grain production also reflected a policy goal of the National Development Plan
1971-1975 for food security through increases in crops yields and decreases in
crop losses through improved food storage technologies.

When researchers in other countries began to struggle with the
formulation of appropriate research techniques to expand the outreach of
government research and extension services to low resource farmers, they
looked for case studies of on-farm research which was already in operation. It
is for this reason that ICTA experiences were given special attention by the
international research community. Even though the term "farming systems
research* has entered the ICTA vocabulary only recently, ICTA has demonstrated
the institutional capacity to conduct FSR/E and has in fact contributed to the
FSR/E concepts and research procedures employed elsewhere in the world.

In a recent study of FSR/E programs throughout the world, Sands (1988)
identified six main types of FSR/E applications. In hindsight, the ICTA
experience with its rather limited focus on basic grains can be classified as
"Farming System Adaptive Research." However, given the Green Revolution
undertones of ICTA research and the major influences of the International
Agricultural Research Centers (IARC) on ICTA activities, it may be more
appropriate to apply the CIMMYT vernacular of "on-farm research with a farming
systems perspective* to the kind of work done in Guatemala.

The research strategy developed by ICTA was very unique in its time. It
combined strong national commodity research programs with technology
validation teams (TVTs) distributed in the regions being served by the
institute. The TVTs were also supported by five centrally located disciplinary
support teams for rural socioeconomics, soils, training, communications, and
seed production. Research priorities were based on a diagnosis of farmer
resources, cultural traditions, and production constraints. The institution
placed highest importance on farmer participation in the technology
development process.

The TVTs linked on-station research with the farmers. The number of teams
has increased from nine teams in 1982 to 15 teams in 1988. However, this
number is still below that which is needed to adequately cover the national
geographical area. Personnel attrition from the TVTs is estimated to be 15%
per year, and it is usually the brightest and best trained people that leave,
often moving to commodity programs. Although some problems were encountered
due to the lack of national coordination of the TVTs, these difficulties have
been corrected in recent years. Recently, for example, a national coordinator
for the TVTs has been appointed. The greater coordination that this will
provide should enhance their ability to create linkages with the discipline
programs to better address soil conservation, cropping system interactions,
and integrated pest management issues.

More serious obstacles have been experienced in the imbalance in training
opportunities between technicians of the TVT and those involved in the more
favored commodity programs. A certain amount of jealousy and erosion of morale
among TVT technicians is apparent. This is worrisome because the higher
professional status of the commodity scientists has resulted in a gradual
shift of priorities from the original farmer focus to a more traditional
commodity basis. In fact, the continuing expansion of the TVTs has created a
manpower demand, which recruitment and the CAPA has been unable to meet. In
1987, for example, CAPA produced only seven graduates for 12 TVT openings.
Nonetheless, farmer participation in technology testing has continued
unabated, and the interaction of the TVT and socioeconomic discipline has been
strengthened in the last three years through the PROGETTAPS program. In 1986,
34% of ICTA research was research managed on-farm experiments, 37% farmer
managed trial plots, and 21% commodity research, including regional
multilocation testing trials.

PROGETTAPS has probably been the most important new initiative in terms of
breaking ICTA's dependence on the methodologies and ideas formed in the 1970s.
We have already discussed, for example, the way that PROGETTAPS has structured
increased communication among ICTA, DIGESEPE and DIGESA.

In addition, for the last three years, PROGETTAPS has been employing
farmer-representatives elected by the community for doing on-farm
demonstrations and technology transfer. The farmer representative program is
modeled after a similar effort by World Neighbors. At present 20% of these
farmer representatives are women who, like their male counterparts, serve a
multiplier effect for DIGESA efforts in agricultural extension, overcome
language barriers in highland areas, and are closely identified with the local

communities. This not only results in a greater farmer outreach, but also
provides the basis for "artisan (microregional) seed production*.

Here again, CIAT was influential in ICTA activities. Certified bean seed
is expensive because of the quantity needed per hectare. In addition, because
the majority of bean diseases are seed-born, CIAT began promoting local "clean
seed" production for low resource farmers. This practice encouraged the
transfer of improved bean varieties among small farmers, and the impact of
farmer representatives in seed production in Guatemala is illustrated in the
number of "artisan seed plots' that have been established (i.e., 11 in 1987;
407 in 1988).

The other important new stimulus for ICTA is coming from the USAID "Small
Farmer Diversification Project" (SFDP) for the western highlands. The project
focuses on promoting non-traditional crop and livestock enterprises with the
goal of improving small farmer income. In addition to technology transfer for
mini-irrigation and soil conservation, the project consists heavily of applied
research, extension, and credit for vegetable, fruit, and livestock
production. This project is likely to be combined with an extension of the
"Highlands Agricultural Development Project" and continue for several more

Several quotes (USAID, 1983) from the project paper and final evaluation
report of the SFDP reveal the technical biases and methodological
short-comings. These pertain directly to ICTA's role in the project:

'The project goal was to expand productive capacity by enabling the
populous subsistence group to produce efficiently and competitively through
improved knowledge, skills, and infrastructure, permitting a transition to
commercial agriculture."

"In short, adherence to the strict requirement of rigorous scientific
research (i.e., testing and validation of new plant and animal technologies)
is not always fully compatible with the imperative to get new technologies to
the farmer quickly (i.e., transfer and extension) in order to exploit
commercial opportunities in a world of great economic flux and inexorable
population growth."

*The immediate focus of this project should be quick, pragmatic trials in
the project sites of known varieties (i.e., already validated elsewhere in
Guatemala). In essence, this is the meaning of "fine tuning' available

ICTA and USAID came into conflict because of basic differences in the
perception of how to go about doing research. During the 1970s, USAID had
been instrumental in helping ICTA to develop the procedures of rapid rural
approaisals to determine farmer problems, development of technologies thought
to be appropriate to solve these problems, on-farm trials to validate these
technologies and to solicit farmer feedback, and eventual diffusion of
results. As is indicated by the quotes above and our interviews, a decade
later the USAID managers of the SFDP were no longer versed in and supportive
of this slow, methodical approach to agricultural research and extension.

They wanted ICTA to "fine tune existing varieties' for almost immediate
diffusion. Personnel from ICTA, well acquainted with the horror stories of
extension of inappropriate technology that led to the development of on-farm
client-oriented research, rebelled against the pressure to do what they
perceived as quick and dirty research. Substantial friction thus surrounded
the project. USAID felt that ICTA wanted to "study everything to death'
before recommending new fruit, vegetable and livestock technologies. DIGESA
was charged with extension and felt that ICTA was not providing them with
recommendations that they could use. ICTA felt that USAID was subjecting
farmers to unneeded risk by recommending 'half-baked' technologies. -

While the timing of this project was excellent in terms of strengthening
ICTA at a point where it had been severely weakened and forcing it to broaden
its efforts outside of basic grains, ICTA resources were inadequate for
meeting the responsibilities assigned to it. ICTA did not have sufficient
personnel to cover all areas especially after the project was extended from 14
to 64 municipios. In addition, ICTA did not have much capability in the
fruit, livestock, and vegetable area. Only in the last few years, largely as
a result of training provided under these USAID projects, has ICTA developed
much capability in these commodity areas.

During the worst period of friction between ICTA and USAID, the latter
began to utilize more private sector research and has considered using the
private sector more in the extension of the Highlands Agricultural Development
Project (HADP). Our perception is that there is nothing wrong with building
up some alternative research capabilities in the country; the more
agricultural research, the better. It would be a mistake, however, to ignore
the existing research capabilities and professionalism of ICTA. Current USAID
personnel need to be aware of the conditions under which ICTA was founded and
how its evolution has been affected by conditions largely external to it. The
ideology, philosophy, and methodology of ICTA were created and
institutionalized in part with the assistance of USAID. Current USAID
personnel, who do not share the perspectives of their predecessors, cannot
expect ICTA to immediately change its modus operandi.

We believe that the overall effect of the SFDP and HADP will eventually
be positive for ICTA because they are forcing the institution to examine its
methodologies to determine whether research can be done in a more time-
effective manner. ICTA will also have to devote more emphasis to cash crops
and livestock rather than subsistence crops. This will force ICTA to really
begin paying attention to the "whole farm' rather than being an institution
that is primarily oriented to studying cropping systems. Table 2-10
illustrates how attention to different production enterprises, as reflected in
national budgetary allocations, has shifted over the years to emphasize
commercial horticultural production. These are a direct result of the USAID
projects along with changing governmental priorities.

On the negative side, these projects have moved ICTA from its emerging
"component technology" focus and returned it to the Green Revolution
"technological packages" concept which is likely to favor high-resource
farmers with a greater potential for obtaining credit. Using the USAID
mandated "model farms', set up to use unproven production package technologies

also deviates from the ICTA "community base" approach to farmer participation.
Finally, the project continues to be extremely weak in social science
technical assistance, implying a return to technology generation dominated by
biological scientists. How can a project that seeks to increase farmer income
and standard of living measure its progress or anticipate unintended negative
social consequences without the involvement of social scientists?


Quetzales budgeted X Change % of 1987
Crop 1980 1987 1980-1987 allocation

Maize 203,675 420,126 106 19.6
Beans 116,011 188,828 63 8.8
Rice 81,701 201,850 147 9.4
Wheat 109,607 181,681 66 8.5
Sorghum 81,484 142,922 75 6.7
Vegetables 210,555 924,816 339 43.2
Sesame 30,768 79,747 159 3.7

Source: Calculated from the "Presupuesto programado y solicitado por
programs y disciplines a nivel national." ICTA, Sector Publico Agropecuario y
de Alimentacion. Guatemala. 1988.

In summary, the conceptual, methodological, and technical innovations,
for which ICTA became well known a decade ago, show signs of decay. The
negative factors that affected ICTA in the late 1970s and early 1980s put an
end to much of the evolution of methodologies. A shift from the determination
of research priorities based on on-farm analyses to a more traditional
commodity-driven research emphasis is detectable. Many of the socioeconomic
data collection activities, such as the farm registers, have become mechanical
and routine without adequate attention being given to their analysis,
interpretation, and utility.

A good example of this is that, despite the enormous resources devoted
over the years to collecting farm register and socioeconomic data, there has
been only one recent attempt to analyze this information. The publication on
Sistemas de Produccion Practicados en el Altiplano de Chimaltenangqo Guatemala
(Production Systems Practiced in the Highlands of Chimaltenango) EReyes-
Hernandez, Garcia, and Campos 19851 was only made possible because the
analysis and writing of it were supported by the Bean/Covpea CRSP. ICTA
justifiably argues that it does not have the staff and/or resources to be able
to analyze the mountains of information that are produced by the
socioeconomics and technology validation teams, but the question arises as to
why substantial resources continue to be spent on collecting data that cannot
be analyzed.

The socioeconomics program, which accounted for a substantial part of

ICTA's worldwide reputation with the international development community, is
in desperate need of revitalization. Following the departure of the
international and highly trained national scientists in the "dark period",
ICTA has been unable to locate and attract well qualified social scientists.
The division of responsibilities for the on-farm testing by the Technology
Validation Teams and evaluation of new technologies by the Socioeconomics Unit
continues to be a weak link in the chain of events in the ICTA methodology for
technology generation and transfer.

Internal Linkages

Much of what we have said already refers to the linkages that ICTA has
with other institutions in the country. In this section, however, it is
useful to provide a brief summary of other programs in the Ministry of
Agriculture and Food and ICTA's relationships with them.

The Public Agricultural Sector (Sector Publico Agricola -- SPA) is made
up of the following institutions that are all decentralized and have a certain
degree of autonomy from The Ministry of Agriculture and Food:

Banco Nacional de Desarrollo Agricola (BANDESA) -- Agricultural Development

Institute Nacional de Transformaci6n Agraria (INTA) -- Agrarian
Transformation Institute

Institute Nacional de Comercializaci6n Agricola (INDECA) -- Agricultural
Marketing Institute

Institute Nacional Forestal (INAFOR) -- Forestry Institute (Because of
corruption this institute was being reorganized in mid-1988. Its duties and
responsibilities will soon be taken over by a new organization to be called
the Dirreci6n General de Bosques y Vida Silvestre (General Direction of
Forests and Wildlife) that is likely to be under the direct administrative
control of the-Ministry of Agriculture and Food.]

Planta Procesadora de Productos Lacteos (PROLAC) -- Milk Products Processing

Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas (ICTA) -- Agricultural Science and
Technology Institute

Under the direct administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and
Food are the following:

Unidad Sectorial de Planificaci6n (USPADA) -- Sectorial Planning Unit

Dirreci6n de Servicios Agricolas (DIGESA) -- Agricultural Services
(extension and technical assistance)

Dirreci6n de Servicios Pecuarios (DIGESEPE) -- Livestock Services (extension
and technical assistance)

When ICTA was created, it was supposed to coordinate its activities with
all of these other organizations, especially DIGESA, which was responsible for
agricultural extension and BANDESA, which was responsible for providing
agricultural credit. DIGESEPE was created in 1979 and was also charged with
the responsibility to work with ICTA. In actuality, there was little
coordination among these institutions until the establishment of PROGETTAPS.
PROGETTAPS established Regional Committees (COREDAS -- Comites Regionales de
Desarrollo Agricola) and Subregional Committees (COSUREDAS -- Comites
Subregionales de Desarrollo Agricola), staffed by the regional and subregional
directors of the six principal organizations in the Public Agricultural
Sector, to do joint planning and monitoring of on-going activities.

In fact, communication with DIGESA and DIGESEPE has improved
substantially. There is still little communication with the other
organizations, though there is increasing recognition of the need to work with
INDECA to insure that there will be a market for the agricultural products
produced as a result of ICTA, DIGESEPE and DIGESA work. Directors within ICTA
also recognize that adopting a true systems perspective for their work will
make it necessary to also work with the public sector agency responsible for
forestry activities.

Internally, ICTA has a Director General's office that is responsible for
coordinating all of the activities of the agency. Public relations,
computing, legal affairs and auditing offices report directly to the Director
General. There are four units under the Director General -- the
Administrative and Financial Services Unit, the Vegetable Production Unit, the
Livestock Production Unit, and the Planning and Programming Unit. Vegetable
and Livestock Production are the research units and are the largest in terms
of personnel. The Vegetable Production Unit contains the commodity (e.g.
maize, wheat, beans, etc.) and disciplinary support (e.g. socioeconomics,
technology validation, soils, etc.) programs. The eight regional programs are
part of the Vegetable Production and Livestock Production Units. These
regional programs carry out the on-farm research components of ICTA's
activities. Within the eight regional programs there are 14 Technology
Validation teams that operate in regions or subregions. PROGETTAPS is
supposed to help ICTA expand the number of teams to 19.

We found that there were not serious problems of communication within the
institute. The Technology Validation Teams sometimes express the belief that
their work is deemed less important than that of the commodity programs. And
as we have already noted, the socioeconomics program has fallen on hard times
as a result of neglect and the inability to recruit new, qualified personnel.
What is impressive, however, is that ICTA is aware of the problems and is
attempting to address them. The current administrators see the important role
for each of the components of the program and seem to be working to address
the areas of concern and weakness. ICTA has been very responsive to the
evaluations of it that have occurred at its behest (Facultad de Agronomia
1986), with support from ISNAR (Ruano and Fumagalli 1988), and our effort. We
believe that the recommendations within these three reports will result in a
significant attempt by ICTA to improve linkages within the institute, as well
as between the institute and other agencies.



This section of the report will attempt to draw the general lessons from
our study of ICTA. In this section, we will follow the structure established
by Byrnes (n.d.) in his review of farming systems projects. We first consider
those elements in which ICTA has been successful, then consider the
constraints to better implementation of the FSR/E methodology.

The importance of ICTA in Guatemala in terms of a global assessment of
FSR/E is that 1) FSR/E was not added on to an existing research and extension
system, 2) FSR/E is not confined to one or several projects in ICTA's general
operations, but 3) ICTA bases all of its operations on a systems research
philosophy and methodology, and 4) has done so since the beginning of the
institute in 1972. Thus, it provides an example of FSR/E with substantial
time depth and with a scope that encompasses all of the public sector
agricultural research for a country.

Reasons for the Successes of ICTA

Although still weakened by low salaries, obvious manpower training needs
in the social sciences, old vehicles, and a limited research budget, the ICTA
experiment in participatory, on-farm research has survived serious economic
and political upheaval. This in itself is a testimony to success. Some of the
many factors contributing to this success were:

o A very well prepared plan of action, all aspects of which underwent a
comprehensive review by a national and international team of experts. The
final product of the long planning process is encapsulated in a simple flow
chart (technology development scheme) showing methodological stages for
on-station and on-farm research, complete with feedback channels. In essence,
this flow chart represents nothing more than the application of scientific
reasoning to problem identification and problem solving. However, by
specifying disciplinary responsibilities over a sequence of interrelated
activities, it illustrates the team work of social scientists, commodity and
on-farm researchers, and extension personnel in the process of technology
development for a specific target group. At the same time, the simplicity of
the model can be easily understood by newcomers, while the actual techniques
of on-farm research are refined as experience dictates. Throughout difficult
periods of turmoil within the institute and external to it, the core of
personnel in ICTA have remained loyal to this perspective.

o When it was founded, ICTA was blessed with high-quality, technical
assistance and external funding from USAID and the Rockefeller Foundation. The
IARCs provided strong support in the areas of short-term training and maize
and bean germ plasm, which provided "on shelf" technology for immediate
agroecological adaptation. Although other Latin American countries also
received similar support, the organization of ICTA in the direction of on-farm
research on basic grains and the heady enthusiasm of the "research revolution"
were fertile ground for this international support. ICTA was receptive and the

chemistry for success was right. ICTA improved varieties have been widely
accepted and form the basis for a substantial domestic seed industry that
insures the delivery of this important input to farmers throughout the

o ICTA has continued to place importance on human capital development.
The "boot camp* (CAPA) program has replenished the thinned ranks of
technicians with equally dedicated workers, who believe in the organization to
the point of accepting poorer salaries and working conditions than they could
obtain in the private sector. Although personnel turnover has been high, ICTA
has retained more people in times of trouble than sister organizations in
neighboring countries.

o The semi-autonomous nature of ICTA has insulated the organization
somewhat from changes of governments and political priorities. With the
exception of the period from 1980-1983, leadership has been experienced,
competent, and dedicated to the revolutionary vision from which ICTA was
conceived. As was the case with the quality of the international technical
assistance received during its infancy, much of ICTA's success can be
attributed to the personalities, dedication and charisma of its leadership.

o Farmer involvement in on-farm research was at the core of the ICTA
philosophy. Whereas many other countries gave lip service to farmer
participation in research managed on-farm experiments and extension managed
demonstrations, ICTA emphasized farmer managed technology validation. The
result was almost a textbook example of the enhanced adoption potential of the
technologies under study and farmer-researcher-farmer information feedback.

o The fact that on-farm research teams were part of the original design
for the institute's methodology eliminated many of the internal conflicts with
commodity and disciplinary specialists that plague many FSR/E programs that
have been superimposed over existing research structures. Those involved in
on-farm work were not constantly challenged as to their professionalism or
quality of research results, nor have they had to compete for research funds,
equipment and respect within the institute. Without the dissension from
within, ICTA has been able to maintain its concentration on improving the
efficiency of on-farm research.

o Decision making in agricultural research was decentralized. Regional
directors were responsible for developing research programs with the aid and
counsel of regional technology testing teams. At the same time, support
discipline teams in socioeconomics, soils, seed production, communications,
and training provided a fabric of national coordination, and the commodity
programs have generated technology and provided backstopping for the
technology validation teams. Budgetary expenditures in agricultural research
have been skewed in favor of regional efforts. However, the limited research
resources of ICTA were not diluted to cover the entire country uniformly.
Instead, regional efforts were given priority according to the relative
importance of specific areas of the country. In this way, ICTA was able to
concentrate on improving staple food production on small and medium sized
farms in the most densely populated and resource poor regions of the country.

o ICTA has continued to maintain sufficient capital for operating
expenses. Many research organizations in other countries are often caught in
the trap of having over 90% of their funds committed to paying salaries and
other personnel costs. ICTA has resisted over-expanding its operations and
its payroll so that, in most years, it has been able to allocate at least 25%
of its funds for operating expenses. Researchers are able to get access to
most supplies that they need, vehicles are available to the technology
validation teams to organize and visit the on-farm experiments, and equipment
is generally able to be maintained.

o ICTA focused its limited resources on only the crop subsystem of the
farm and on a relatively few enterprises within the crop subsystem. Research
institutions in other countries attempted a more balanced approach toward all
of the principal crop and livestock enterprises found in the agricultural
sector, including the supporting academic disciplines (e.g., soil science,
pathology, etc.). This placed a tremendous strain on limited financial and
human capital resources of those institutions, especially when on-farm
research activities were superimposed on a weak assortment of commodity
research programs. The end result is a diluted and ineffective national
research effort. This is not the case at ICTA. In fact, the organization has
recently been criticized for focussing on too narrow a range of commodities
and problems.

o ICTA has shown a sensitivity to system interactions. This began
simply, such as the need for better ear cover on the high yielding maize
variety ICTA Bl to prevent insect damage or the need to develop rice varieties
that meet consumer expectations and do not shatter during hulling. Maize
varieties are also routinely selected for having wide leaves in addition to
high yields, because the leaves are used for wrapping tamales. More recent
attention is being given to the interaction between wheat straw used for
animal bedding, which is then incorporated in potato fields as organic
fertilizer (compost). This holistic system awareness will be advantageous as
ICTA moves into research on livestock and cash crop subsystems.

In the following sections we will discuss some of the most important
constraints that have been identified by Byrnes (n.d.) as affecting FSR/E
programs. Not all of these constraints have limited ICTA in Guatemala, and in
some cases the institute has overcome them in important and innovative ways.
Thus, in the "constraints" that follow, both positive and negative aspects of
FSR/E in ICTA will be discussed.

A. Internal Constraints to Doing FSR/E

1. Farmer Orientation and Participation

ICTA has always been quite clear that its mandate is to help the farmers
with small and medium size holdings in the country. Its on-farm research
activities are designed with this in mind and the vast majority of the on-farm
trials and validation parcels are on the fields of small farmers.

Nevertheless, ICTA is well aware that its research has probably been of
greater benefit to farmers with larger holdings. This is because most of the

beneficial technology that has been developed in the research institute
consists of new seed varieties. These are now being produced by private seed
companies and are mainly purchased by wealthier farmers with large extensions
of land.

For this reason, ICTA, with the assistance of BID and FIDA through
PROGETTAPS, has begun several new initiatives to reach farmers with smaller
landholdings. The first of these is the farmer representative program. The
idea of this is that ICTA technicians train and work with promoters from
DIGESA and DIGESEPE. These individuals conduct sondeos, plan research, and
establish on-farm trials and demonstration plots. They work with 10 farmer
representatives elected from communities. Each of the farmer representatives
is paid a half time regular wage and is responsible for organizing groups of
at least 20 farmers from their communities. In this way, each ICTA technician
can work indirectly with 200 farmers. If there are DIGESA and DIGESEPE
promoters as well, the number of farmers can triple to 600. This program is
designed so that the technicians can have a multiplier effect with a large
number of farmers at a relatively low cost.

The second new initiative is the artisan seed production program. Here
the farmer representatives are taught techniques for producing, storing, and
multiplying clean, improved seed. This program is currently working with
rustic storage facilities developed by CIP for potatoes, with technology for
beans developed by CIAT, and with seedbeds for vegetables that will be
transplanted. Eleven demonstration plots for seed were planted in 1987 and by
1988 this had been expanded to 407.

We were quite impressed with the level of participation of farmer
representatives and farmers in the communities we visited. ICTA personnel
seemed to have developed good relationships with these individuals. This was
especially impressive in Indian communities in which the farmer
representatives not only tested and demonstrated new technology, but also
served as the only means by which ICTA personnel could communicate with
monolingual speakers of Indian languages. Thus, the farmer participation
model that is essential to FSR/E is being strengthened in innovative ways at
ICTA. This effective participation seems to be operating best in the
Quetzaltenango region of the country, but ICTA has plans to extend it to the
other regions.

2. Locational Specificity of Technical and Human Factors

Technology Validation Teams presently work in 14 areas of the eight
regions into which the country has been divided by the Public Agricultural
Sector. There are plans to expand the number of teams to 19, but even then,
the coverage of the country will be quite limited. ICTA has concentrated its
efforts on the most populous regions of the country and on regions where the
majority of farmers are resource poor.

The problems that have affected the socioeconomics unit mean that
characterizations of agroecological zones have been done for only a few areas
of the country. At this point, it is difficult to estimate how many of the
resource poor farmers would potentially benefit from the research being done

by ICTA. "Homogeneous areas" (in ICTA's terminology) remain to be identified
for most regions of the country.

3. Systems Orientation

The systems orientation pervades the rhetoric of ICTA. It is apparent,
however, that the commodity programs determine a substantial amount of what
goes into the on-farm trials. In addition, ICTA research in the past was
focused heavily on a few grain crops. Thus, the systems orientation often
consisted of trying to determine how a specific commodity like sorghum, maize,
or wheat fit into a larger context rather than focussing on how the whole
system operated. This orientation became especially apparent when USAID tried
to use ICTA to spread vegetables and fruits as cash crops in highland
agricultural systems.

One problem that is mentioned frequently by ICTA personnel is that it has
been difficult for them to find appropriate places for their technicians to
study farming systems research and extension. CATIE was the obvious choice,
but ICTA personnel have criticized CATIE for really only focussing on cropping
systems. People sent to U.S. institutions learned disciplines or commodities.
Chapingo in Mexico seems to be the current institution of choice.

The "dark period" of ICTA must also be blamed for decreasing the ability
to really do systems research. The socioeconomics program, for example, was
moved from the Vegetable Production Technical Unit to the Programming Unit.
This reflected the lack of understanding of one of the outside directors of
the role of socioeconomics in ICTA. The Technology Validation Teams received
little support, and networking possibilities were diminished because of lack
of travel funds and money to send technicians for training. Thus, during the
period in which FSR/E was evolving on the global scene, ICTA was cut off from
developments and new ideas.

There also seems to be a lingering dogmatism within ICTA concerning its
approach. A reflection of this is the continuing attachment to gathering
.time-consuming farm registers without an understanding of how they are to be
analyzed or used. ICTA has not done much in attempting to innovate new, time-
effective techniques for tasks like farm registers. Some justifiable
criticism (especially from USAID) has been made regarding the inflexibility of
the institute on-this and other issues.

In recent years, ICTA has expanded its systems focus by establishing a
unit to focus on Livestock Production and has improved its capacity in fruits
and vegetables. More emphasis is being placed on the discipline of soil
management. So current trends are toward a greater systems perspective within
the institution. When added to the new ideas concerning techniques of
technology transfer using the farmer representatives, there is reason for
optimism concerning systems research in ICTA.

4. Problem-solving Approach

This is related to the points made above. ICTA has been slow to move
away from its focus on basic grains. While it was and is important to focus

on improvements in grain production for farmers with small plots of land,
there is little likelihood that this will result in improving their levels of
income. ICTA now seems to recognize the need for developing more effective
research programs in combining fruit, vegetable, livestock, with improved
grain production to more realistically address ways to improve incomes.

Here again the lack of an effective socioeconomics program causes
substantial problems. The socioeconomics program as currently constituted can
only apply techniques of the 1970s for doing sondeos, characterizations, and
evaluations. If resource poor farmers are to move into cash cropping, changes
should be made in the socioeconomics program to focus more on the marketing
alternatives and the policy environment. These are critical areas that are
not now part of ICTA's thinking or planning.

5. Technology Testing in On-Farm Trials

ICTA has come to use a system in which farmers provide the inputs for the
validation trials. This insures that the farmers maintain an interest in the
economic results of these trials and insures better feedback concerning the
results of the trials. The validation trials and demonstration plots are
increasingly being turned over to the farmer representatives, a method that
should allow for greater spread and coverage.

PROGETTAPS has adopted the on-farm research methodology of ICTA and,
because of the cooperation of DIGESEPE and DIGESA personnel, these techniques
are being spread to other organizations in Guatemala. The resulting stronger
links between research and extension can only improve the FSR/E functioning in
the country.

6. Interdisciplinarity

Socioeconomics was one of the more innovative aspects of ICTA's program
in the 1970s. With the loss of the highly-respected Rockefeller advisor and
those individuals trained during his tenure, the socioeconomics program has
never regained its previous stature. Only 11 individuals remain in this unit,
most of these individuals are technical school graduates in agronomy (peritos
agronomos) with no training in socioeconomics, the acting director is a B.A.
level person trained in anthropology, and the permanent head of the unit is
presently out of the country studying for a Master's degree.

The respect that the program once had has been lost. In part this is
because of the "dark period* years in which the program was not understood,
and in part it is because of the relatively low level of training of the
individuals who fill the positions. Salaries are low compared to other areas;
supposedly an agronomist who has been in socioeconomics for 13 years is only
making as much as a newly-recruited individual in the CAPA program. The
acting director told us that one indication of the lack of respect for the
program came when new vehicles were to be purchased for the various teams.
While all the Technology Validation Teams were getting new trucks, the
socioeconomics teams were asked to make do with 3 trucks and 2 motorcycles.

In the 1970s the socioeconomics unit was able to involve scientists from

other disciplines and the commodity groups in carrying out sondeos and
evaluations. This no longer seems to be the case and is an indicator that the
interdisciplinarity in the institute is suffering because of the poor status
of socioeconomics.

Although this area badly needs strengthening, the various USAID projects
that have been operating and that are planned for Guatemala totally ignore
this need. The extension of the Highlands Agricultural Development Program
provides substantial money for training of biological agricultural scientists.
Yet, despite mentioning the importance of characterizations of areas,-of
anticipating sociocultural problems, and of the need for baseline studies to
eventually used as comparisons for evaluations, only six months of consulting
for a Guatemalan social scientist is contemplated. No money is provided for

7. Feedback to Shape Agricultural Research Priorities and Agricultural

The debilitation of the socioeconomics unit and the collection, but not
analysis, of farm register data by technology validation teams indicates that
there is no longer an effective means of identifying research priorities. We
have the impression that increasingly the people in the commodity programs are
identifying research priorities. Farmers are less important in the process
than they were in the 1970s. To be sure, feedback still occurs because of the
experimental trials, validation trials, and demonstration plots but this is
after substantial research has already been done.

B. External Constraints on Doing FSR/E

1. Stakeholder Understanding of FSR/E

One of the unique aspects of ICTA is that much of the development of the
institution was planned by Guatemalans collaborating with USAID, the
Rockefeller Foundation, and individuals from some of the international
agricultural research centers.

In addition to the involvement of Guatemalans in the planning process,
another important step was taken when the technical assistance team of
foreigners was incorporated into the structure of the new organization. That
is to say, these individuals were not treated as technical assistants but as
regular members of the organization, part of the hierarchy of the institution,
and subject to the same rules and norms as other personnel. The close working
relationships that were established between Guatemalans and the foreigners
seemed to arise out of this relationship. Guatemalans and foreigners had an
equal stake in whether or not the institution succeeded; the loyalty to the
organization and philosophy of ICTA that evolved from this is one of the
strengths that began from this move.

At present, it is clear that ICTA personnel have more of a stake in the
success of FSR/E than do any of the donor agencies. ICTA has been committed
to the approach since 1973. While USAID supported the initial efforts, their
commitment to research projects using an FSR/E approach is relatively minimal.

2. Agricultural Policy or Strategy Defining Role of FSR/E in Research and

The systems approach of ICTA was heavily influenced by the national goals
for Guatemala in the early 1970s. One question is whether these goals still
apply today?

The present civilian government in Guatemala probably is more sympathetic
to doing research for resource poor farmers than any of the military
governments that preceded it. The current Vice-Minister of Agriculture and
Food was formerly with ICTA and he is firmly behind the PROGETTAPS work with
farmer representatives. He has also established some programs to help small
producers more directly market their products.

Nevertheless, with the debt crisis and economic problems that are
affecting Guatemala, there is also a national policy of attempting to increase
exports. Thus, the USAID programs for small farmer diversification by getting
them to move into cash cropping are reflective of a changed national
agricultural strategy. ICTA is coming around to working within the context of
this new policy environment, though it is being more responsive in terms of
improving its technical expertise than improving its capacity in the
socioeconomic area.

3. Long-Term Commitment of Resources

ICTA has been in existence with a relatively unchanged philosophy since
that time. The national government has not wavered in its support of ICTA's
programs. In fact, because of its respect within the country and
international reputation, ICTA has fared somewhat better in terms of budget
than other parts of the Public Agricultural Sector.

PROGETTAPS has been working with ICTA and other agencies using a FSR/E
framework. Recent USAID projects in the agricultural sector are compatible
with an FSR/E perspective but there is clearly a much less positive commitment
to this approach than there was when USAID supported the creation of ICTA.

4. Existing Research Capability and Shelf Technology

The original goals of ICTA were to work with the basic grains that
comprised the majority of the diet of the nation and that were largely grown
by small, resource-poor farmers. The financial support of the Rockefeller
Foundation and of USAID was obtained because those Guatemalans who were
attempting to establish ICTA argued convincingly that the work of the
International Agricultural Research Centers then established would have little
effect if there were not strong national programs to adapt and transfer the
new genetic materials and other technology being created. Rockefeller support
was channeled through two of these international agricultural research
centers. The USAID FPNI project focused on providing ICTA with continued
technical assistance for research on conventional maize, other basic grains
and vegetables.

The composition and contracting of personnel illustrates one of the
original operating principles of ICTA. As McDermott (1977a:13) noted, ICTA
relied heavily on technology sources (e.g., IARCs and U.S. universities) to
access agricultural science and technology. ICTA's research strategy was to
move technology (e.g., genetic material of maize) from these sources; to
highly-controlled experiments at the centros de producci6n; to on-farm,
researcher-managed experiments; to on-farm, farmer-managed tests; and, for a
successful technology, to dissemination by DIGESA and others.

ICTA has been quite successful in adapting on-shelf technologies in basic
grains, validating them, and releasing them for use by agriculturalists. ICTA
estimated that in 1985-86, maize producers in the country sowed 112,000
hectares (23%) using ICTA varieties, bean producers sowed 15,000 hectares
(8.6% of the total) using ICTA varieties, and 80% of the land in rice was
planted with materials developed by the institute. Most of this seed is now
provided by the private seed industry, the development of which was stimulated
by ICTA. Most of the seed distributed by the private sector in Guatemala is
based on ICTA-developed varieties. This increase in domestic production has
essentially obviated the need for imports, thus providing a substantial
savings of foreign exchange for the country.

5. Consensus on Criteria for Evaluating FSR/E

Evaluation of the research carried out by ICTA is still in a primitive
stage. During the 1970s the institute developed what was called indices of
acceptability. The index measured the percentage of farmers participating in
farmer-managed validation trials who continued to use the technology in the
following year. An index of over 50% adopting is grounds for disseminating
the technology to other farmers. This index is still used in the institute
though there is still substantial disagreement over its use.

Personnel in the socioeconomics program, which is responsible for
gathering the data for the index of acceptability, report that many people in
the commodity programs become angry when indices of acceptability don't meet
the minimum standard. These individuals say that the relatively few farmers
participating in farmer-managed trials is not a large enough sample to prove
that a technology is acceptable or not. They say that if a larger sample had
been used many technologies would be accepted. The socioeconomics program
also sees a problem with the index of acceptability. The problem is that the
index does not give any idea of how widely the technology spreads and whether
other farmers who do not have farmer-managed trials adopt the technique.

This again is a case of a technique developed in the 1970s not being
improved upon or modified in the light of experience. The problem is that the
personnel in the socioeconomics program just do not have the training to be
able to make the appropriate changes.

6. Capability to Process Farming Systems Data

This has been addressed earlier. ICTA does not have sufficient personnel
or the equipment to process farm register and other data collected as part of
the FSR/E activities. Many people who now work in the socioeconomics and

technology validation programs told us of heaps of data sheets stacked in
offices. Many of these stacks are several years old and are unlikely to ever
be processed.

It is unlikely that the situation will improve in the near future. ICTA
has recently ordered programmable calculators to distribute to the technology
validation teams and the socioeconomics teams. It seems obvious that personal
computers would be much more practical if the data were collected in a manner
that would allow them to be input and analyzed rapidly. The problem is that
the current staff, although they are doing the best job they can with current
resources, does not have the training to be aware of what the possibilities

7. Links with Extension, Agri-Support Services, and Farmer Organizations

For most of ICTA's history, links with extension have been minimal. This
was a problem for ICTA because it could not diffuse technology by itself. It
is for this reason that its major success was with improved seed, a situation
in which private companies did the actual dissemination of the product. ICTA
provides the improved germ plasm to produce the improved seed.

The advent of PROGETTAPS, however, has led to a significant improvement
in communication. DIGESA and ICTA personnel now collaborate closely in
several regions of the country. Attempts are being made to develop stronger
links with DIGESEPE. The modular program using teams from ICTA, DIGESA, and
DIGESEPE which work with farmer representatives seems to hold great hope for
improving the technology transfer process.-

ICTA has collaborated well with other private companies for specific
commodities. We have mentioned the linkages with a beer company to work with
barley producers, the agreement with Quaker to work with oat producers, and
the agreement with the wheat producers. These organizations channel financial
resources to ICTA to work on specific problems.

C. Generic Constraints to Implementing FSR/E Prolects

1. Management Structure of the Institute

ICTA management is relatively decentralized, with a substantial
percentage of the researchers assigned to the regional offices. Sixty-five
percent of the budget is in the regional programs. The administrative
structure of the institute is relatively lean. So long as the directors are
in accord with the philosophies and goals of the institute, the management
structure has worked well.

ICTA's semiautonomous status means that it can contract new personnel,
purchase equipment, and allocate its budget without the approval of a central
government agency. The only position within the institute that has been
subject to the winds of political change has been that of the Director
General. This contrasts with many other countries in which a change of
government often means a replacement of a substantial proportion of the


2. Government Funding to Meet Recurrent Costs

The funding situation of ICTA was discussed extensively in the second
section of this report. The main conclusions that we reached there were:
a) Until PROGETTAPS loans were made, over 75% of all annual budgets of ICTA
were provided from government resources;
b) The country does not allocate a large percentage of its budget to
agricultural research, but what it does allocate seems to be well spent;
c) ICTA maintains a relatively low level of personnel so that it can devote
about a quarter of its annual budget to operating expenses; and
d) ICTA provides about a fifth of its budget to the two main programs
concerned with FSR/E -- the socioeconomics and technology validation support

3. Staffing with Trained Manpower

ICTA has devoted substantial resources to improving the capabilities of
its staff. In the first thirteen years of its existence, 54 individuals
received post-graduate training outside the country, despite several years in
which the policy was not to send anyone abroad. Although there has been a
loss of trained individuals from the program, most commodity programs and
disciplines have maintained a core of adequately trained individuals. The
level of training of personnel has improved substantially since the institute
was founded.

The CAPA program has been an important part of ICTA being able to
maintain an esprit de corps and a shared philosophy within the organization.
This ten month training program for new personnel is costly but probably has
contributed to the maintenance of the ICTA program through its toughest times.

Trained individuals are most sparse in the two areas most concerned with
FSR/E -- socioeconomics and technology validation. Socioeconomic lost its
most capable individuals during the "dark period" when it was transferred into
the programming unit. It has not been able to recruit new staff partially
because of the repression suffered by the university social science programs
during the political violence of a few years ago.

Technology validation loses about 15X of its team members each year. The
major reason is that there are few opportunities for training or advancement
open to individuals on these teams. Most members believe that they have to
transfer to one of the commodity programs or to one of the disciplines to have
a chance of getting training outside the country or moving into positions of
greater responsibility in the institute.

Recent USAID programs continue to provide funds to strengthen ICTA
personnel. Unfortunately, these training funds do not include opportunities
for individuals in either socioeconomics or technology validation.

4. Management of Training

There is a commission on grants within the institute that has the
responsibility of planning what training needs to be done and for selecting
the individuals to be sent abroad. This commission takes into account the
needs expressed by program and discipline coordinators, the experience and
abilities of the individuals who apply for training, and the goals and needs
of ICTA.

ICTA successfully underwent the transition from having line positions
filled by foreigners to an institute staffed by Guatemalans. Though this
transition was more abrupt than it could have been, the level of trained
personnel carried the institute through the "dark period." ICTA is in a new
stage of development with individuals who rose through the ranks now occupying
administrative positions in the organization.

ICTA has a training center in Jutiapa where it conducts its own in-
service training program (CAPA). This location is also often used for
workshops and other training activities. ICTA personnel have participated
actively in short courses, workshops, and other such training in Guatemala and

5. Management of Technical Assistance

ICTA made excellent use of the high-quality, technical assistance and
external funding from USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation and CIAT and CIMMYT.
Much of this was probably due to incorporating these individuals directly into
the hierarchy and norms of the organization. Although other Latin American
countries also received similar outside technical support, they were unable to
develop such an effective working relationship between national and foreign

The wisdom of putting foreigners into line positions is illuminated by
contrast to the recently concluded USAID Small Farmer Diversification Program.
A technical assistance team was established as a parallel group outside of
ICTA. Most of the individuals who were part of this team never established
good working relationships with their ICTA counterparts. The result was hard
feelings on both sides and a less successful project than could otherwise have

6. Factors Beyond the Institute's Control

The political violence in Guatemala in the late 1970s and early 1980s
made it impossible for ICTA personnel to work in many areas of the country.
The highlands were especially dangerous during this period and it was in these
areas that ICTA had concentrated most of its efforts. During the last several
years the violence has subsided and ICTA has re-established many of its

The changes in military governments have also exacted a toll on ICTA.
Political appointees from 1978 to 1983 were not sympathetic to ICTA's
philosophy or goals. Three successive Director Generals of the institute
created morale problems that led to the departure of the foreign technical
assistance team and many of the most capable Guatemalan staff. This "dark

period" is something from which ICTA has only recently begun recovering.

The result is that the conceptual, methodological and technical
innovations for which ICTA became known a decade ago have not continued. The
negative factors that affected ICTA in the late 1970s and early 1980s put an
end to much evolution in the procedures of ICTA. Currently it seems that many
of the techniques developed during its early years are applied without
considering their original purpose or their utility. Some, like the time-
consuming farm register, are rarely analyzed. The Technology Validation teams
and the Socioeconomics discipline need revitalization with people who have
sufficient training so that they can further the conceptual, methodological
and technical level of the institute.


1. The systems perspective has been fully institutionalized at the Instituto
de Ciencias y Tecnologia Agricolas. This is indicated by the level of
financial support being provided by the national government, the importance of
the on-farm client-oriented research that is central to the philosophy and
methodology of ICTA, and the high emphasis placed on the systems perpspective
in the training programs sought for ICTA personnel.

2. We were extremely impressed with the level of professionalism and
commitment of the scientists associated with the Instituto de Ciencias y
Tecnologia Agricolas. There is a very positive mystique that pervades the
institution. Even those individuals who have left ICTA comment on this
mystique. Efforts should be made to build upon the solid foundation of
professionalism, commitment, and mystique that exists. ICTA can do this by
continuing to place importance on human capital development.

3. The institutionalization of the systems perspective and the high degree of
self-assurance and confidence engendered by the professionalism of ICTA
personnel have led to a situation in which the institution is able to
articulate its own demands and to set its own research agenda. This
independence has caused the institution some problems, particularly with
USAID/Guatemala, but it also indicates a degree of institutional maturity that
should be encouraged in developing country institutions. We believe that it
is important for agricultural research organizations like ICTA to be able to
effectively channel external assistance in productive directions rather than
simply responding to each new initiative established by aid agencies.

4. For the above reasons, we believe that it is essential for USAID/Guatemala
to continue collaborating with and supporting the programs of ICTA. Although
there have been and will continue to be disagreements concerning research
priorities, methodologies, and goals, both organizations should be able to
learn from and take advantage of one another's perspectives and capabilities.

5. External technical assistants, when needed for agricultural research,
should be directly incorporated into the structure of ICTA. This model worked
well when ICTA was established in the 1970s and recent projects that have not
done so have encountered problems as a result. Incorporating technical
assistants into the organization would show respect to ICTA for its management
and research abilities.

6. ICTA should continue to build its external linkages with foreign
universities and organizations that have capabilities in farming systems
research and extension. Because it suffered from such outside stimulation
during its dark age, the methodology used by ICTA is in need of being
revitalized. In terms of its internal linkages within Guatemala, ICTA should
work with universities to try to incorporate more of the systems perspective
in the agricultural teaching programs. Some of this is already occurring as
ICTA personnel teach part time in several universities, but these efforts can
be better coordinated and made more effective.

7. The initiatives that have begun as a result of the PROGETTAPS effort,

especially the coordination and collaboration with DIGESEPE and DIGESA, must
be continued and broadened. ICTA depends on these organizations for the
diffusion of its research results. Unless these organizations work together,
none of them can do an effective job.

8. ICTA should continue its efforts to broaden its systems efforts to include
livestock and cash crops like fruits and vegetables. The resource poor
farmers who are viewed as principal clients for ICTA research can only
substantially better their situation by improving the productivity of their
whole system, including cash crops, livestock, basic grains, and off-farm

9. ICTA must continue its efforts to upgrade the capabilities of the
technology validation teams and the socioeconomics unit. These units were
sources of considerable dynamism when the institute was first established, but
unless these areas are strengthened again ICTA will continue to evolve toward
an institution that is organized around commodity research programs.


We appreciate the assistance given us by Tom Ivers and Brian Rudert of
the Office of Rural Development, USAID/Guatemala. Our work at ICTA was made
easier because of the collaboration given us by the General Director,
Ingeniero Agr6nomo H.S. Horacio Juarez and by the Training and Technical
Exchange Coordinator, Ingeniero Agr6nomo Alejandro Fuentes Orozco. The
excellent report of Sergio Ruano and Astolfo Fumagalli for the ISNAR special
series on the Organization and Management of On-Farm Client-Oriented Research
had already collected much of the essential information on ICTA. Our task
would have been substantially more complicated were it not for their work.
Finally, we would like to thank all of those individuals we interviewed in the
various agencies and institutions in Guatemala. Their frankness, patience and
desire to provide as complete a picture as possible concerning the questions
we were asking speak well for the level of scientific research capability in

ANNEX I. A Synthesis of the Evolution of Agricultural Research in

Year Important Events

1920 Creation of the National School of Agriculture

1930 Creation of the Instituto Quimico Agricola Nacional
(National Institute of Agricultural Chemistry); carried
out agricultural research on fertility of soils


Founding of the Instituto Agropecuario Nacional (National
Agricultural and Livestock Institute); this initially
began as a cooperative venture between the Association of
Cinchona EQuinine] Cultivators of Guatemala and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture; later expanded to establish
three experiment stations and research on maize, beans,
rice, wheat, coffee and rubber

Founding of the Faculty of Agronomy in the University of
San Carlos, the national university of Guatemala







A government commission recommends the creation of an
autonomous institute of agricultural research; the IAN is
replaced by el Servicio Cooperativo Interamericano de
Agriculture (Interamerican Cooperative Service of
Agriculture), an entity not dependent on the central
government; three new experiment stations open and one of
the existing stations is moved

Founding of the Facultad de Veterinaria y Zootecnia at the
University of San Carlos

SCIDA disappears and is replaced again by the IAN which
functions as a part of the Ministry of Agriculture (i.e.,
not autonomous)

-1970 Wheat and potato programs of the agricultural experiment
station at Labor Ovalle, Quetzaltenango begin on farm
research activities, a pre-cursor of the on-farm trials
carried out by agriculturalists

The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) and the
Interamerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture
(IICA) deliver a report to the governments of Central
America on the state of agricultural research in the
region; the First Reunion of the Central American
Committee on Agricultural and Livestock Development is
held in Costa Rica; it recommends that coordinated
research begin on production of maize, rice, beans,
sorghum, meat, milk, coffee, cotton and sugar cane;
recommends that IICA coordinate the work of national


agricultural research programs

1959-1970 Work at Labor Ovalle using work done at the Office of
Special Studies in Mexico as a model results in new
varieties of wheat that raise production during the period
from 16 to 45 thousand tons; in 1964 initial informal
talks begin between Ing. Astolfo Fumigalli and Ing. Mario
Martinez G. (and later other persons) about the idea of
organizing an autonomous institute of agricultural
research; USAID provides project support through a series
of projects including Agricultural Development (No. 520-
11-190-197.1) to help improve agricultural extension
activities and to establish an agricultural research
institute responsive to small farmer technology problems.

1970 Reform of the agricultural public sector which creates the
National Bank for Development (BANDESA), the Institute of
Agricultural Marketing (INDECA), and the General Direction
of Agricultural Services (DIGESA) as part of the first
national development plan; Ing. Mario Martinez G. is named
Vice-Minister of Agriculture; initial discussions begin
between the Vice-Minister of Agriculture, the Director
General of Agricultural Research, the Director of
USAID/Guatemala and the Rockefeller Foundation about
support for a research institute in Guatemala

1971-1972 A work group of national and international experts is
formed (with the support of the Rockefller Foundation and
USAID/Guatemala) to plan the philosophy, structure,
general strategy, needs, functions, and other aspects of a
potential agricultural research institute; the third of
these work groups produces what has become known as the
Green Book -- an analysis of the agricultural sector and a
justification for the creation of ICTA; a draft of the law
to create ICTA is prepared; Ing. Mario Martinez becomes
Minister of Agriculture; discussions wit h the Rockefeller
Foundation, CIMMYT, CIAT, USAID/Guatemala and the Ministry
of Agriculture continue; in May 1972 a document is signed
by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Director General of
CIAT to provide two scientists to work in ICTA who would
be supported by funds from the Rockefeller Foundation;
USAID/Guatemala in coordination with CIMMYT agrees to
support two expatriate scientists in the maize program in
October, Decree No. 68-72 is issued by the Congress
creating the Instituto de Ciencias y Tecnologia Agricolas
as an autonomous institution



ICTA is formally inaugurated on May 10 with Ing. Astolfo
Fumagalli as Director General, Dr. Robert Waugh as Adjunct
Director, and Dr. Eugenio Martinez as Technical Director

Teams for on farm trials are established for three regions

of the country; Ing. Mario Martinez is named Director
General and Ing. Astolfo Fumagalli as Sub-director
General; the support discipline of Socioeconomics is
formally created with the support of the social science
department of the Rockefeller Foundationa and Dr. Peter
Hildebrand is named as coordinator of the discipline

1975 Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutrition Improvement
Project (FPNI) is funded by USAID for five years for $1.83
million. Prueba de Tecnologia (on-farm trials) teams
begin work; commodity research programs are established as
support for the on-farm work

1976 The course for in-service training (Curso de Capacitaci6n
en Servicio -- CAPA) of technical scientists is
established along with the seed production discipline
support unit

1978 Change of government and change of ICTA director and sub-

1979 The Animal Production Program is reorganized and
strengthened; the General Direction of Livestock Services
(DIGESEPE) is created for livestock extension activities

1982 USAID Small Farmer Diversification Project begins

1983 Devaluation of Quetzal from its previous level of parity
to the dollar

1985 The Project for the Generation and Transfer of
Agricultural and Livestock Technology and Seed Production
(PROGETTAPS) is approved; Ing. Astolfo Fumagalli resigns
to become a private consultant; Ing. Agronomo M.C. Horacio
Judrez Arellano is named Director General

1986 National coordinator named for Prueba de Tecnologia

** Adapted and expanded from Ruano and Fumagalli (1988: 14-16).

Annex II

Foreign Scientists Who Worked with ICTA**

Scientist Program Financing

Ing. Hugo C6rdova Maize Program CIMMYT/AID
(El Salvador)

Ing. Carlos Cris6stomo Technology Testing AID

Ing. Roland Hardwood Finance Rockefeller

Dr. Peter Hildebrand Socioeconomics Rockefeller

Ing. Douglas Kuehn Vegetable Program AID

Ing. Marceliano L6pez Training CIAT/BID

Dr. Eugenio Martinez Technical Director CIAT/Rockefeller

Ing. Silvio Hugo Orozco Bean Program CIAT

Dr. Albert Plant Sorghum Program AID

Dr. Federico Poey Maize Program CIMMYT/AID

Dr. Wayne Porter Bean Program CIAT/AID

Ing. Federico Scheuch Seeds CIAT/BID

Dr. Robert Waugh Adjunct Director CIAT/Rockefeller

Dr. Kasuhiro Yoshii Bean Program CIAT/AID

** From Ruano and Fumagalli (1988: 111).



Agency for International Development
1980 Central America: Small-Farmer Cropping Systems. AID Project Impact
Evaluation Report No. 14. Washington.

Alvarado Pinetta, Edgar and Federico Alvarado G.
1981 La Agricultura en Guatemala. Camara del Agro de Guatemala.

Asmon, Itil, James Jones, Michael Schwartz, and Astolfo Fumagalli
1987 Small Farmer Diversification Systems Project (520-0255) -- Final
Evaluation: Associates in Rural Development, Inc. Burlington, VT. 1987.

Bolanos, Salvador. Evaluacion de aceptabilidad de bodega rustic para
almacenamiento de semilla de papa. Region I. ICTA. Sector Publico Agropecuario
y de Alimentacion. Discipline de Apoyo, Socioeconomica Rural. 1982.

Castillo, Luis Manlio. Conozca al Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia
Agricolas. ICTA. Publicacion miscelanea 20. 1987.

Castro Lorca, Otto Ren&, Salvador Bolaflos, Esad Guerra, Edin Orozco y Jose
Angel Robles
1988 Propuesta para fortalecer la interdisciplinariedad y la
retroalimentacion en el process de generation y validacion de tecnologia.
Publicaci6n Miscelanea #21, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas:

Chinchilla, M.E. and P.E. Hildebrand. Evaluacion de la acceptabilidad de la
tecnologia generada por el ICTA para los cultivos de maiz y ajonjoli en el
parcelamiento la maquina 1977-1978. ICTA, Disciplina de Apoyo, Socioeconomica
Rural. 1979.

El Congress de la Rep6blica de Guatemala
1972 Decreto Legislative No. 68-72, Ley Organica del Instituto de Ciencia y
Tecnologia Agricolas. 3a edici6n.

Facultad de Agronomia, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, INAP, and IICA.
Informe de evaluation externa del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas
de Guatemala. 1986.

Flores, L.E.S. Almacenamiento rustico de manzana. Folleto tecnico 31.
Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas. Guatemala. 1985.

Fumagalli, Astolfo, Ramiro Ortiz and Manlio Castillo
1985 Un Nuevo Modelo de Transferencia de Tecnologia dentro del Enfoque de
Sistemas Agropecuarios, Folleto Tecnico No. 32. Institute de Ciencia y
Tecnologia Agricolas: Guatemala.

Gonzalez, P.
1986 Evaluacion de aceptabilidad de la variedad de arroz precoz-ICTA en
parcelas de prueba. Parcelamiento el reposo y caballo blanco, subregion IV-3
Retalhuleu ano de 1985. Sector Publico Agropecuario y de Alimentacion.

Discipline de Apoyo, Socioeconomica Rural. Guatemala.

Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas

1984 "Exportaciones de melon en aumento.* NOTICTA 4:1-3.

1985 Un nuevo model de transferencia de tecnologia dentro del enfoque de
sistemas agropecuarios. Sector Publico Agropecuario y de Alimentacion.

1986 "Avances del proyecto 520-T-034, sistemas de diversification para el
pequeno agricultor del altiplano." NOTICTA 6:1-4.

1986 Evaluacion de aceptabilidad de la variedad de papa Tollocan Solala
Sub-region 1-3. Sector Publico Agropecuario y de Alimentacion. Discipline de
Apoyo, Socioeconomia Rural.

1987 Conozca al Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas, Publicaci6n
Miscelanea 20.

1988a Plan de Investigaciones Agropecuarios, 1988-1992.

1988b Disciplina de Producci6n de Semillas, Informe 1987-88. Sector Publico
Agropecuario y de Alimentacion. Guatemala.

1988c Recomendaciones Tecnicas Agropecuarias para los Departamentos de
Jutiapa y Jalapa. Sector Publico Agropecuario y de Alimentacion. Guatemala.

Kass, Donald L. (resident scientist in Guatemala)
1983 Final Report, Small Farmer Cropping System Project June 1, 1978 -
March 31, 1979 and Small Farmers Farming System Project March 31, 1979 Dec.
31, 1981. Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Enseflanzan Turrialba,
Costa Rica.

Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganaderia y Alimentaci6n.
1986 Guia general acerca de los representantes agricolas. Administration
Cerezo Arevalo. Guatemala.

Ortiz, Ramiro
1988 Aspectos Relevantes en el Diseflo del Modelo Tecnologico de DIGESA.
Discussion Document. Proyecto de Generaci6n y Transferencia de Tecnologia
Agropecuaria y ProducciOn de Semillas.

n.d. Agrosistemas: Un enfoque practice y eficiente en el diseno de
recomendaciones para la production de cultivos. Institute de Ciencia y
Tecnologia Agricolas. Sector Publico Agricola. Folleto tecnico No. 9.

Reyes-Hernandez, Mamerto, Santos S. Garcia and Arturo Campos
1985 Sistemas de Produci6n Practicados en el Altiplano de Chimaltenango,
Guatemala: Una Caracterizaci6n Socioecon6mica. Socioeconomics Discipline,
ICTA: ICTA and Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program.